In a first, PM Narendra Modi to attend NAM meet on May 4

In a significant development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in a video conference meeting of non-alignment movement (NAM) on coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. The meeting that will happen at around 4.30 pm IST will also be attended by Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

This is the first time PM Modi is taking part in a NAM meeting since becoming the prime minister for the first time in 2014. The last time any Indian PM participated at Tehran NAM meet was in 2012 when Manmohan Singh was the PM of the country.

Both in 2016, 2019 summits of NAM, India was represented by Vice President. The last NAM Summit happened in 2019 in Azerbaijan, before that it was 2016 in Venezuela.

Azerbaijan is the president of the grouping till 2022 and the meet is being organised under the leadership of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The title of the summit is “We stand together against COVID-19”.

“We hope that the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group’s Summit will make a significant contribution to the mobilization of NAM member states in the fight against coronavirus, strengthening of solidarity and multilateralism,” Hikmat Hajiyev, Head of the Department for Foreign Policy Affairs of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration said as quoted by Azerbaijan State News Agency or azertac.

The meet on COVID-19 comes even as other multilateral groupings like G20, BRICS and regional groupings like SAARC are having video conferences to come out with a coordinated approach to tackle the pandemic.

Non-Aligned Movement is an idea that emerged in 1950 and the initiative was led by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Present of erstwhile Yugoslav Josip Broz Tito.

NAM is the second-largest platform globally in terms of country membership after the UN. While it currently has 120 member states, 17 states which are observers in the last few years the grouping has lost the main rationale of the existence of remaining equidistant to 2 powers–US and Soviet Union, after the disintegration of the latter.