Quoting from one of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s verses on friendship, ‘... If you think friendship can be won through war, spring will fade away before your eyes’, President Xi Jinping on Friday reiterated the virtues of good relations between neighbours, peace and cooperation and amity in the region as envisaged six decades ago in the Panchsheel treaty among India, China and Myanmar. At the 60th commemoration of the Panchsheel here, he asserted that China would follow the five principles of Panchsheel even as it is ready to work with the West to uphold world peace and development.

Without taking names, he frowned upon the practice of one state flexing its muscles while “injustice and inequalities still exist in international affairs.” In his address delivered at the Great Hall of the People, located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square, he stressed the need to revisit the five guiding principles of Panchsheel, which, he said, had been endorsed by a host of international organisations and instruments. The Chinese President said no country should monopolise international affairs and with a word of caution against countries that use the “law of the jungle” by which the “strong bully the weak,” he called for strengthening South-South Cooperation and bettering North-South dialogue.

Mr. Xi spoke of adhering to territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression and non-interference in internal matters, and peaceful co-existence — the basics of Panchsheel, and said these continue to remain relevant and grow.

“All good things must evolve,” he said, and asserting a country’s rights over its foreign policy, he said no other state could be allowed to dictate its foreign relations.

India reciprocated its commitment to Panchsheel with Vice-President Hamid Ansari calling attention to the need for greater interaction between the people of India and China in all fields for stronger bilateral relations.

“India believes that globalisation should transform the world into, as Mahatma Gandhi had envisaged, ‘a federation of friendly, interdependent nations,’ without domination or exploitation. Panchsheel is the basis of such a world order. We need to work together to develop a framework for equitable globalisation, for genuine multilateralism, and for seeking common and fair solutions for challenges that transcend national borders and threaten humanity,” he said.

The Vice-President said there was a need for a new paradigm for global action and Panchsheel could act as a catalyst to better coordinate efforts, enhance mutual understanding, share developmental experiences and tackle trans-national threats more effectively.

“We gather here today to reaffirm the timeless relevance of Panchsheel in establishing a peaceful, stable, prosperous and secure world. As the co-originators of Panchsheel, it is our duty to revitalise our friendly relations and to promote cooperation as the only way forward towards the realisation of our common goals of progress and prosperity for our peoples,” Mr. Ansari said.

Stood the test of time

President of Myanmar Thein Sein said the five principles had stood the test of time, matured and become part of the inter-state relations. “Myanmar is confident that the five principles will play a greater role in interstate relations,” President Sein said.

He acknowledged the “significant role” played by China and India in helping the economy of Myanmar and said having consistently followed the Panchsheel directives, and a non-aligned foreign policy, his country would cherish friendly ties with all nations, especially its neighbours.