Non-Aligned Movement Summit Draws Reactions from India, Russia, and China

Non-Aligned Movement Summit Draws Reactions from India, Russia, and China

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) recently convened in Tehran for its 16th Summit, drawing attention to the relevance of the NAM, members’ relations with Iran, and the ongoing turmoil in Syria. This post highlights commentary on the summit in the Indian, Russian and Chinese press.

INDIA

The NAM summit drew considerable attention and commentary in India, due to both India’s status as a founding member of NAM and the bilateral meetings that PM Manmohan Singh had with leaders of Iran and Pakistan on the sidelines of the summit.

  • The Hindu, known for its mix of leftist and soft-nationalist viewpoints, printed an editorial hailing the NAM’s significance and outlining two reasons why the summit was important for India: Singh’s public opposition to intervention in Syria was India’s “clearest statement of differences with the US on this issue,” and his meetings with the Iranian leadership demonstrated that “New Delhi’s relations with Tehran would not be dictated by the U.S.”
  • C. Raja Mohan, known for his great-power realist views in his Indian Express column, dismissed the “utter incoherence of the NAM as a collective political entity.” According to Mohan, the real winner at the NAM summit was Egypt’s new president Mohamed Morsi, whose attendance defied America’s wishes and whose public statement in support of the Syrian opposition riled the Iranian host.

RUSSIA

Russian officials welcomed the NAM summit as an opportunity to counter US influence amidst strained relations with Washington over new, wide-ranging US sanctions against Iran introduced in August.

  • Gennady Yevstafiev, retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, stated, “Given the fact that the meeting of the heads of the NAM is taking place in Tehran, it is an extremely big achievement of the present Iranian leadership and a rather serious blow to the aspirations of Israel and the US.” He added that while some members of the NAM, like India, Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia will “play an important role as centers of influence,” the NAM is unlikely to emerge as a new center of power, given the diversity of attitudes and aspirations of its members.

 CHINA

The limited Chinese commentary on the NAM reflected an identification with the Global South school of thought, but for the most part the Chinese press was more preoccupied with other foreign policy issues, such as island disputes with neighbors (see RPI Policy Alert #34). China is an observer to the NAM.

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