Literally speaking, non-alignment is not to align oneself with any particular side.
In the perspective of the post-World War II, of course, non-alignment had a different connotation. In post-Second World War the Cold War virtually divided the world into two Power blocs.
One centering round USA and the other under the leadership of USSR In such a world situation the emergence of independent countries in Asia and Africa marked a new phase the international history.
The newly emerged independent countries of Asia and Africa gradually began to develop a common understanding on world affairs.
They decided not to align themselves with any of the two Power blocs. Along with maintaining equidistance from the two Power blocs they would maintain friendly relations with both the USSR and USA.
One of the fundamental principles of India’s foreign policy is to keep clear of Power blocs.
In fact, in foreign policy India wants to be able to determine her foreign policy as independently of external pressure as is possible in the interdependent world.
The characteristic features of India’s policy of non-alignment are as follows: (1) The Indian foreign policy aims at maintaining her freedom of political scheme.
(2) India wants to be able to determine her foreign policy independently as far as possible in this interdependent world.
(3) Another feature of India’s policy of non- alignment is to stand apart from the two great rival camps in the contemporary world.
(4) Not following a policy of neutrality in international affairs. India not to refuse to take sides as a matter of principles. India merely refuses to do so when there is nothing thereby to be gained.
c. Non-aligned Movement:
The non-aligned movement primarily is a movement that aimed at strengthening the non-aligned nations. It also aimed at ending of colonialism and promoting world peace.
In short non-alignment diet not mean only the non-involvement with the Power blocs in the Cold war period, it also was the policy of creating a better world.
This has become particularly relevant after the end of the Cold War in the 90s.
The non-aligned movement started operating ‘on an organizational level after the first Summit Conference held at Belgrade in Yugoslavia in 1961.
The popularity of the policy of non-alignment is reflected in the continuous increase in the number of countries that joined the non-aligned nations.
Beginning with 25 countries it has now more than 113 members in the group. The non-aligned movement had played a very important role in world affairs.
It has tried to build up a new international economic order that would be based on equality of nations. It has been trying to narrow down economic disparities between nations.