After the Second World War ended, two major superpowers arose in the world-USA and former USSR. Their mutual rivalry resulted in the formation of two hostile military blocs. Consequently an atmosphere of tension, distrust, and fear developed between 1945 and 1991 known as the ‘cold war’.
As many former imperialist colonies were attaining independence, both sides tried to draw these new independent nations into their respective blocs. The ones joining the blocs were given economic and military aid and were expected to provide military and political support in turn, if a conflict arose.
India did not wish to ally itself with either party because it was aware of the high price of military involvement and also that the new found freedom would become meaningless. Therefore, it tried to initiate a movement for world peace independently.
Our leaders also felt that peace simply did not mean the absence of war. It also meant healthy cooperation amongst nations for the benefit of all. This policy, which was supported by many newly independent nations, came to be defined as the Non-aligned Movement. It meant an impartial approach towards world issues without being influenced by either bloc.
Non-Alignment does not mean being neutral or not involved in foreign affairs. It means remaining apart from military and political groups while taking an active part in promoting world peace and understanding amongst nations. It also means taking an independent stand on international matters.
This movement became an important forum for those countries that did not want to support either bloc, but wished to work for the cause of peace and cooperation amongst nations.