Ansari to leave tomorrow for NAM Summit in Venezuela

New Delhi:Vice President Hamid Ansari will embark on a visit to Venezuela tomorrow to attend the 17th NAM Summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi not going for the meeting of the Cold War-era bloc.

Modi is only the second Indian Prime Minister to give a NAM Summit a miss after Charan Singh in 1979.

The summit, which started yesterday and will end on September 18, is taking place in Venezuela’s Margarita Island and has meetings scheduled in three consecutive segments — meeting of senior officials, foreign ministers meeting and a conference of heads of state and government.

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit is expected to bring together leaders from the 120 developing countries that are its members. The NAM Summits have been among the largest gatherings of countries, after the United Nations.

“The summit is expected to deliberate on issues of contemporary relevance and concern such as terrorism, UN reforms, the situation in West Asia, threats to peace and security, UN peacekeeping operations, climate change, sustainable development, economic governance, south-south cooperation, refugees and migrants, and nuclear disarmament,” a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

“All these issues are of relevance in the context of the discussions that will take place at the United Nations in coming months,” it said.

NAM is also an important forum for interaction with partner countries across continents, including from Africa, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs), with whom India has long-standing development partnerships in a spirit of south-south cooperation, the statement said.

“NAM continues to represent space for action in pursuance of the collective interests of the developing world, along with the G-77, especially on subject such as the reform of the global economic system and disarmament. At the United Nations, the NAM is an influential grouping on a range of issues such as UN peacekeeping and disarmament,” it said.

India has a close bilateral engagement with Venezuela, the host of the 17th NAM Summit.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez had led a high-level delegation to India last month when she had personally extended the invitation to India to attend the NAM Summit. She had also held talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the visit.

India is one of the founding members of NAM and it had hosted the 7th NAM Summit in 1983 in New Delhi. The last NAM Summit was hosted by Iran in 2012.