NAM Summit: Is India & Iran Coming Closer: Civil Services Mentor Magazine October 2012

NAM Summit: Is India & Iran Coming Closer

NAM Summit: Is India & Iran Coming Closer

Amid the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference, the biggest gathering of international dignitaries in the Islamic Republic’s 33-year history, northern Tehran has become a ghost town. The 16th NAM (Non- ligned Movement) summit was held at Tehran, Iran on 30-31 August 2012.The theme of the summit was Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance. At the Tehran Summit , the Chairmanship of NAM was passed on from Egypt to Iran in accordance with the NAM’s practice of regional rotation. The NAM meeting in Tehran was held in three phases: preparatory senior officials meeting on 26-27 August, ministerial level meeting on 28- 9 August, and the summit on 30-31 August. Heads of the government from over 100 countries participated in the Tehran Summit to discuss the new global challenges. At the end of the summit, the outcome documents were adopted which put emphasis on peace. Participants called for fundamental changes in global governance and collective management of the world as the precondition of establishing peace, and all of them expressed the call for avoiding conflicts in the world. Venezuela was selected the host for the 17th NAM Summit in 2015 and two nations, namely Azerbaijan Republic and Fiji, were accepted as the new members of the organization.The NAM was founded in the former Yugoslavia in 1961. It represents almost two-thirds of the UN members and about 55 percent of the world population. India expressed support for popular aspirations for a democratic order in Syria while cautioning against external intervention. India urged NAM to take a clear stand on Syria. Iran condemned the West’s policy of intimidation against other nations and sought NAM’s support to end tough West-sponsored sanctions against it over its nuclear programme, as officials from 120 countries, including India, gathered here for the 16th NAM summit. “We believe that adopting worn-out policies based on intimidation and humiliation is not only unjust and unjustifiable but also weakens international cooperation for the materialisation of the goals and objectives of the UN charter,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

Iran is facing a series of tough UN and Western economic and financial sanctions crippling its oil and gas industry over its nuclear programme, which it calls peaceful. However, West accuses Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons. The officials from 120 NAM member states met to work on the agenda of the heads-of-state summit to be held later. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attended the  Summit, which was preceded by crucial bilateral talks with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Also on the sidelines of the meeting, India, Iran and Afghanistan hold a strategic trilateral meet in which key issues, including regional security and economic situation and best utilisation of Chabahar Port, a significant commercial venture, were discussed.

India, Iran and Afghanistan hold talks on giving India greater access to landlocked Afghanistan, a move that could ease Iran’s isolation in the region. The three countries will meet Sunday to discuss how best to use the southeastern Iranian port of Chahbahar and develop road and rail links from there to Afghanistan, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters. As troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, India fears the possibility that the country would fall into the hands of a Taliban-led regime, endangering many of India’s interests. India has been one of the largest contributors of development aid to Afghanistan. Over the past decade, it has spent more than $2 billion to help build infrastructure, including roads, power projects and hospitals.

For India the shortest and most economical route for sending supplies to Afghanistan would be by road through Pakistan, but its decades long rival has denied New Delhi road access to Kabul, making the route through Iran all the more significant. Iran also hopes to develop an industrial zone near Chahbahar and wants to attract foreign investment to set up industries there, Mr. Mathai said. The talks came days ahead of a nonaligned summit meeting hosted by Iran in which leaders of some 120 countries were expected to participate. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will be in Tehran to attend the summit, is to meet with Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.