Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is on his way to attend the Non Alignment Movement (NAM) Summit in Venezuela, said that India will strongly take up its concerns about terrorism. The summit, which began on Tuesday, will end on September 18.
Speaking on board a special aircraft, the Vice President said, “Terror is something which impedes everything. If our objective is development, then terror cuts right across it. We need peace, we need social peace, we need international peace. Both these are being interrupted by terror. Whatever the form terror takes, it is terror, it is terrorising civilian populations and therefore if the population is terrorised then it cannot devote itself to its normal pursuits, foremost amongst them is development. So it very much has to be taken up.”
When asked if NAM has become less important for India in the wake of strengthening of the Indo-US partnership, the Vice President completely denied any big shift in India’s foreign policy.
“There was a methodology in 1961. The methodology underwent changes in the 70s, 80s, and 90. Again the methodologies are being adjusted but the objectives have not changed…I don’t think we have shifted (in our foreign policy) and I don’t think it should be seen as black or white, it is always shades of grey,” he said.
Vice President also emphasised that the Non Aligned Movement has been evolving and must continue to evolve to stay relevant to the times.
“It (NAM) has continuously evolved since its inception in 1961 and therefore it must evolve. Any organisation if it does not respond to the requirements of the day loses its relevance. So whatever our priorities of the day are that is to be determined collectively by consensus. Those priorities have to be addressed there is no way out of it,” he added.
VP Ansari also explained why Prime Minister Modi’s absence from the NAM summit was not a big deal. PM Modi was only the second Indian Premier to skip the conference after Charan Singh did so in 1979.
“Prime Ministers have been going but there have been occasions when Prime Ministers for a variety of reasons have not been able to go but India’s participation remains,” said the Vice President.
VP Ansari also said the priorities of the conference in Venezuela are peace, sovereignty and solidarity for development.
India is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement and it had hosted the 7th NAM Summit in 1983 in New Delhi. The last NAM Summit was hosted by Iran in 2012.
The 120 member countries of NAM comprise of 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organisations that are Observers at NAM.
The Non-Aligned Movement came into being 55 years ago when leaders of 25 developing countries met at the 1961 Belgrade Conference.
The summit comes amid political and economic turmoil in the oil-rich Venezuela which has skidded into crisis as global crude prices have plunged since mid-2014, pushing President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist model to the brink.
(With inputs from PTI)