The XVIII (18th) summit of heads of state and government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from October 25-26, 2019. The theme of the summit for 2019 was “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of the contemporary world.” From the Indian side, Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu addressed the summit.
Theme relation: The theme was related to the forthcoming 65th anniversary of Bandung Principles in 2020 and also the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Non-Alignment Movement in 2021. Bandung principles (10 principles) promote world peace and cooperation and were formulated at the Asian-African Conference held in 1955.
Focus of the summit: The Summit focused on issues such as terrorism, threats to peace and security, United Nations (UN) reform, climate change, sustainable development, economic governance and south-south cooperation.
Overview of Vice president’s visit:
Interaction with President of Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela and the Vice President of Vietnam:
Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu was received by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev upon his arrival at the summit venue. During the summit he interacted with various leaders of different nations and are as follows,
- Interaction: Shri Venkaiah Naidu interacted with the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani; President of Vietnam, Ms. Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh; President of Cuba, Mr. Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros on the sidelines during the summit and stressed the need for deepening close ties with these nations.
- Interaction with Afghanistan: Regarding Afghanistan, Shri Venakaiah Naidu assured to work with the Afghan govt, for the development process, where the bilateral trade partnership of the nation is already above $ 1.1 billion.
- Interaction with Cuba: Interacting with the president of Cuba, Shri Venkaiah Naidu spoke about the two millennia-old civilizational relationship shared by the nations.
- Interaction with Vietnam: Shri Naidu, praised Vietnam that is to become the chair od ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in 2020 and also observed it as a key pillar of India’s Act East policy.
- Interaction with Venezuela: Shri Naidu congratulated the outgoing chair of NAM, i.e., Venezuela for its successful works as the chair. Venezuela has been an active partner in our ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) program, with more than 200 Venezuelan professionals being trained in India for the last 2 decades.
Other key highlights:
- Postal stamp on Mahatma Gandhi by Azerbaijan: Naidu expressed his gratitude and thanked Azerbaijan for releasing postal stamp of Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary in October 2, 2019
- Visit to Ateshgah temple in Azerbaijan: Shri Naidu visited the ancient fire temple of Azerbaijan, the Ateshgah (Atesh-fire,in Persian) temple which is set as an example the historical and cultural exchanges between India and Azerbaijan.
- Meet with Iran, Nepal and Bangladesh Leaders: On October 25, 2019, Shri Naidu, met presidents of Iran- Hassan Rouhani, Nepal- Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina ahead summit.
- Bilateral trade with Azerbaijan: The bilateral trade with oil-rich Azerbaijan has increased from $50million in 2005 to $463million in 2017.
- The Vice President also addressed members of the Indian Community at the Embassy of India in Baku.
- Indian delegation: Shri Venkaiah Naidu led the Indian delegation that comprised of External Affairs Minister(EAM), Shri Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Shri Syed Akbaruddin and the Secretary to the Vice President, Shri Idupuganti Venkata Subba Rao.
- The NAM is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest gathering of states worldwide.
- India is one of the founding members of NAM which had 29 members during its establishment.
- Founded- 1961, Belgrade, Serbia.
- Chairperson- Nicolás Maduro.
- Headquarters- Central Jakarta, Indonesia.