June 30, 2007 1:08:26 am
India on Friday rejected the US contention that NAM has “lost its meaning”, with the Government and political parties stressing in unison the continued relevance of the movement for promoting democracy in the world order.
While the Government underlined that NAM was important for fostering cooperation among developing nations, agitated political parties asked the US not to lecture India on how to conduct its foreign policy.
Rejecting the views of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Government said that as a founder member of NAM India is committed to its ideals while being equally interested in developing cooperation with the US.
“We don’t believe that the (NAM) movement has lost its relevance,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. “It has acquired contemporary relevance in fostering cooperation among developing nations, particularly known as South-South cooperation,” he said.
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Rice had said that New Delhi should dump NAM and “move past old ways of thinking and old ways of acting” to create a partnership for the future of Indo-US relations. “There is no apparent contradiction in expanding cooperation and democracy of the world and NAM,” Mukherjee said.
Subtly rejecting Rice’s advice, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna underlined that New Delhi “remains committed to its (NAM) ideals” and its “firm and abiding commitment” to non-alignment could not be questioned.
Political parties, including the ruling Congress and the Government’s Left allies—CPI(M) and CPI—hit out at Rice for her “gratuitous advice” and said India need not be lectured on foreign policy.
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