In international politics, the group of states sharing the peacetime policy of avoiding political or economic affiliations with major power blocs. At its beginning the nonaligned movement consisted primarily of Asian and African states that were once colonies of the Western powers and were wary of being drawn into a new form of dependence by the West or by the communist bloc. Founded by Jawaharlal Nehru, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and others, the movement held its first official meeting in 1961 in Bandung, Indon.; 25 countries attended. Meetings have since been held on a three-year schedule. While the Soviet Union existed, the movement tended to seek development assistance from both the U.S. and the Soviet Union but to refrain from forming political or military alliances with either country. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the nonaligned movement has been chiefly concerned with debt forgiveness and with development of fairer trade relationships with the West. By the early 21st century the movement had more than 110 members.
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