The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that development is the key priority for each of the countries in the NAM group, and that accordingly, the theme of peace, sovereignty and solidarity for development had been chosen as the theme for this year’s summit. He was addressing media onboard the Special Aircraft today en-route to Venezuela to participate in the 17th NAM Summit on September 17-18, 2016.
Placing the upcoming NAM Summit within the historical context, the Vice President said that Non-Aligned Summits or the Movement itself were not new to India, having been part of the group since its founding in 1961. Though the concerns of member-states in 1961 were primarily those of securing independence in the context of decolonization, over the years the agenda has partially changed in keeping with the times. One priority that has however remained constant for the NAM grouping and for each and every member country, is that of ensuring development, the Vice President said. Under the theme of peace, sovereignty and solidarity for development, the primary issue is how to devote one’s energies for development. For this peace is an essential requirement, as well as the solidarity amongst nations with converging objectives, he added.
Responding to a question on whether there had been a change in India’s foreign policy, the Vice President said our foreign policy, like domestic policies, is intended to achieve a set of objectives and to determine the best methodology for doing so. Methodologies may be adjusted or may undergo a change but the objective – of representing India’s interests – do not change, he added.
Responding to a question on terrorism, the Vice President said that NAM is an important forum, and that India would certainly raise the issue, as it has been raising in other fora. He further said that terror is something which impedes everything. Our objective is development and for that we need peace, both at the domestic and international level. These things are being interrupted by terrorism and therefore has to be addressed, he added.