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NAM needs 'blood transfusion': Natwar

April 20, 2005 20:57 IST

Fifty years ago when former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru led a team to Bandung where the Non-Aligned Movement was formed, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh was a young man in New Delhi closely attached to the team.

"I remember Egypt's then president Nasser had flown in the Indian plane to Bandung with Nehruji," the minister recalled.

That time only four countries in Africa were independent, including Ethiopia, Liberia and Egypt. Today 54 countries are independent, he said while addressing the Asian-African Ministerial meet in Jakarta.

"Non Aligned Movement is not a doctrine or a dogma. It is a state of mind," he said on Wednesday.

He said NAM's agenda today was terrorism, drug trafficking, environment, debt repayments, migration of people, sub-nationalism and globalisation.

Noting that the 'digital divide' was increasing these days, he said the movement needed a 'blood transfusion' to meet the challenges of the 21st Century and to avail of its opportunities.

Recalling the words of Nehru in the political committee on April 22, 1955, Singh said that Roeslan Abdulgani, who was Secretary General of the conference, had recorded that when the Indian Prime Minister spoke "everyone listened spellbound... It seemed that nobody stirred."

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