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Why is Sushma Swaraj going to Azerbaijan’s capital Baku today?

In an effort to boost bilateral relations between India and Azerbaijan, a range of issues are expected to be discussed during Swaraj's talks with leadership of that country.

Minister of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday emplaned for Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku to attend the Mid-Term Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement from April 4-6.

Swaraj, who is on a three-day visit to Azerbaijan starting today, will be attending a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and hold discussions with top leadership of the country.

During her visit, Swaraj will hold extensive discussions with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and also call on President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

Besides, she will also represent India at the mid-term ministerial meeting of the NAM, which will take place on April 5 and 6 in Baku.

India, which is a founding member of NAM, remains committed to the purposes and principles of the movement, said the MEA statement.

“The External Affairs Minister’s participation in the NAM Ministerial Meeting will underline India’s continued active and constructive engagement within the movement with a view to further strengthen solidarity and cooperation among its member states,” the statement further added.

In an effort to boost bilateral relations between India and Azerbaijan, a range of issues are expected to be discussed during Swaraj’s talks with leadership of that country.

It should be noted that India and Azerbaijan bilateral ties have grown in several areas, including energy, transportation, and capacity building.

India’s ONGC-Videsh is an investor in ACG oil fields and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. “The two sides will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest,” the ministry said in a statement.

What is the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)?

The NAM was established and founded at the height of the Cold War and during the collapse of the colonial system spurred by the independence struggles of people belonging to Asia, Africa, Latin America and various other regions of the world.

During its initial days, the movements actions were instrumental in the entire decolonisation process. This eventually led to the attainment of freedom and independence by several countries. It can be said that the NAM played a critical role in the preservation of world peace.

Ever since its establishment, countries belonging to the NAM have waged an endless battle to make sure that peoples being oppressed by foreign occupation can exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and pursue independence.

The first ever summit of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries was convened by the leaders of India, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria and Yugoslavia.

The movement later played a fundamental role in supporting nations which were struggling for their independence and provided solidarity in their times of need.

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