International Day of Neutrality

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2023 Date12 December 2023
2024 Date12 December 2024

International Day of Neutrality

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International Day of Neutrality is a global observance aimed at promoting the principles of neutrality and peace across nations. The essence of neutrality lies in non-participation in military operations and upholding an independent stance on international issues. It's not just an international law concept but also a framework originally intended to safeguard nations from global conflicts. The core objective of the International Day of Neutrality is to disseminate awareness about neutrality and promote peaceful co-existence among all countries.

The United Nations General Assembly officially declared December 12th as International Day of Neutrality in its resolution adopted on 2nd February 2017. In the context of India, the observance holds immense importance given the country's longstanding principle of "Panchsheel" or the five principles of peaceful co-existence. India, despite being one of the major players on the international platform, has always adhered to its policy of nonalignment. India’s long tradition of non-aggression and peaceful negotiations on international disputes substantiates the central themes of the Day of Neutrality.

In India, the International Day of Neutrality is marked by various activities organized across governmental and educational institutions, fostering discussions about the significance of neutrality in maintaining world peace. Seminars, debates, and interactive sessions often involve experts dissecting India's neutral stance on global issues and the role it plays in shaping pathways to peace. It serves as a reminder of India's commitment to peace and non-interference. Each year on December 12th, this observance reiterates and emphasizes India's unwavering commitment to a peaceful international order and non-involvement in offensive military alliances.

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Facts about International Day of Neutrality

  • The U.N’s policy of neutrality is based on their tools of preventive diplomacy. According to the U.N, preventive diplomacy includes: early warning and prevention of conflict, mediation, good offices, fact-finding missions, negotiation, the use of special envoys, informal consultations, peacebuilding and targeted development activities.
  • Neutrality is defined by the U.N as, the legal status arising from the abstention of a state from all participation in a war between other states, the maintenance of an attitude of impartiality toward the belligerents, and the recognition by the belligerents of this abstention and impartiality.
  • History has its share of violating the international neutrality pact. For example, during World War II, Belgium's neutrality was violated when it was invaded by Germany.
  • India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a strong advocate of neutrality and non-alignment. He followed the policy throughout his tenure, believing that it would aid India's economic development and protect the nation's sovereignty.
  • India played a significant role in the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement, which aimed to create a "third path" for developing countries that did not want to align with either the United States or the Soviet Union.

Top things to do in India for this observance

  • As of 2020, the U.N has 13 ongoing peacekeeping operations in countries like Mali and India. Learn more about the U.N’s peacekeeping strategies and how you can help maintain neutrality at What Is Peacekeeping?
  • Explore a historical timeline to learn more about the U.N's record of peacekeeping. Learn more at Timeline of UN Peacekeeping.
  • Write letters or petition local and national policymakers, urging them to prioritize neutrality in foreign policy decisions. Engage in constructive conversations with elected officials to emphasize the need for India's active participation in promoting peaceful neutrality on the global stage.
  • Arrange peaceful protests or marches to highlight the importance of neutrality and non-alignment in international conflicts. This can be done in collaboration with various peace organizations or student groups.

References and related sites

UN: Neutrality Day

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