In his first address to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit since assuming office in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 May 2020 flagged the issues of “terrorism” and “fake news”, calling them “deadly viruses” at a time when the world fights the novel coronavirus. Modi said they should develop a platform for NAM countries to pool their “experiences, best practices, crisis-management protocols, research, and resources”. NAM should call upon the international community and the WHO to focus on building health-capacity in developing countries. We should ensure equitable , affordable and timely access to health products and technologies for all.
  1. Even as the world fights COVID-19, some people are busy spreading other deadly viruses. Such as terrorism. Such as fake news, and doctored videos to divide communities and countries.
  2. This was the first time Modi participated in a NAM summit — he had become the first Indian Prime Minister to skip the NAM summit in 2016 and in 2019 too.
  3. The NAM leaders announced creation of a task force to identify requirements of member countries through a common database reflecting their basic medical, social and humanitarian needs in the fight against COVID-19.
  4. Calling it the “most serious crisis” humanity has faced in decades, Modi underlined that at this time, NAM can help promote global solidarity. NAM has often been the world’s moral voice. To retain this role, NAM must remain inclusive.
  5. The online NAM Contact Group Summit on “United against COVID-19” was hosted by current NAM Chairman and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.
  6. Over 30 Heads of State and other leaders joined the summit. The Summit was also addressed by UN General Assembly president Prof Tijjani Muhammed Bande, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, African Union chairperson Musa Faki Mahamat, EU High Representative Josep Borrell, as well as WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus.
  7. Following the Summit, leaders adopted a Declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. 
  8. Leaders also announced the creation of a ‘Task Force’ to identify needs and requirements of member States…, a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
WHO must boost healthcare capacity
  1. PM said multilateral institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO) should focus on building healthcare capacity in developing countries, and that global institutions should adapt to the needs of today’s world, which is being more “inclusive”.
  2. Covid-19 has shown us the limitations of the existing international system. We need a new template of globalisation based on fairness, equality and humanity in a post-Covid world, the Prime Minister said. We need to focus on human welfare and not just on economic growth.”
  3. We should build technology for all. We should develop a platform for all NAM countries for crisis management protocols and disaster management, in the founding spirit of movement to come together and not grow apart. Each of us can be saved from the pandemic only if we are together, he said.
Pharmacy of the world 
  1. PM also said in an effort to help and cooperate with other countries in their fight against the deadly novel coronavirus, India has sent critical drugs and medical devices to 123 countries, including 59 members of NAM, showing India is ‘pharmacy of the world’ for essential medicines.
  2. India sees the whole world as one family. As we care for our own citizens, we are extending help to other countries, he said.
  3. The PM also took another veiled shot at Pakistan, adding that while some countries “organise military drills”, India organises disaster management drills in the south Asian region and beyond.
  4. Stressing on the need for transparency in fighting such pandemics, PM said: “During this crisis, we have shown how democracy and discipline can come together to create a genuine people’s movement.”
  1. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) had its origins in the Bandung Conference of April 1945 In Indonesia, inspired by three world leaders: Nehru of India, Tito of Yugoslavia and Nasser of Egypt
  2. Bandung formulated the concept of non-alignment based on the Third World desire not to become involved in the East-West ideological confrontation of the Cold War, and to focus instead on national independence struggles, the alleviation of poverty, and economic development. 
  3. These principles were adopted at the founding non-aligned summit in Belgrade in 1961.
  4. Whereas NAM started with 25 members in 1961, it has now expanded to 115 developing member countries which constitute nearly two-thirds of the United Nations.