ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Regional Consensus on Non-Alignment

CEYLON'S initiative in canvassing' a conference of non-aligned Asian nations can be understood only in the context of the reservations with which some Asian countries, not excluding India, now view the prospect of a third summit meeting of non-aligned countries. Since 1964, when the second summit dispersed in Cairo, time and the compulsions of the national interests of some of the principal exponents of non- alignment have inevitably induced changes in their attitudes to world issues. With the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia and the fear this engendered in Yugoslavia of possible new threats to the independence of other states in the region, particularly itself, Tito is wont to regard Super-Power collusion in the parcelling out of spheres of influence as the greatest threat to the integrity of small nations. Egypt on the other hand, having become militarily dependent on the Soviet Union in the confrontation with Israel, sees Washington as the main danger. India has its own problems, again, and its approach to foreign policy is naturally influenced by the strategy of the two Super Powers to win influence in the area as well as more directly by its relations with Pakistan and China. Pakistan's anxiety to gate-crash into the fold of the non-aligned is, in this context, less surprising than it may seem. Dinesh Singh is known to have told the recent Governors' conference in New Delhi that while the original basis of non-alignment had become somewhat outmoded, no new basis has yet emerged. It may emerge in Dar-e-sa- laam, where the preparatory conference of the non-aligned is due to meet on April 13, or it may not. Anyhow it is on the outcome of this conference that much of the future shape of non- alignment will depend. Ceylon's latest move makes sense only as a regional effort to provide the Dar-e-salaam conference with a basis for the future. The question of Pakistan's admission is by no means the central issue, except that it may present an opportunity for the conference to define anew what role non-alignment may seek to play in the future.

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