Freewheeling Signpost

Five mantras for peaceful coexistence

Former Chinese PM Zhou Enlai and his Indian counterpart Jawaharlal Nehru in New Delhi in 1956. The Hindu Archive   | Photo Credit: HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

‘There is enough space in the world for the rise of India and China’ – These were the words of India’s Vice President Hamid Ansari during his trip to China to mark the 60th anniversary of Panchsheel. The emerging powers of the world marked the event with great significance. Hamid Ansari reaffirmed the friendly bilateral ties between the two nations. Let us get to know a little more about this historic agreement.

The Panchsheel Treaty can be loosely translated as the five principles. Panch means five and sheel means values in Sanskrit. These five principles were framed mainly to maintain smooth relationship between India and China. This historic treaty was signed at Peking on April 29, 1954. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence were the key points of the treaty.

Mixed responses

There has always been mixed response to Panchsheel as many feel that the spirit was not upheld fully which led to the Indo-China war in 1962, eight years after Panchsheel. This treaty was agreed upon to be valid for eight years.

The signing of the treaty was preceded by more than six months of discussions and negotiations in New Delhi on the disputed territories of Aksai Chin and South Tibet.

China’s Zhou Enlai, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru and Myanmar’s U Nu played a vital role in formulating the principles.

Post the World War II, all countries were busy getting back on the track of development and Panchsheel was seen as a background for setting things right. The five principles were in accordance with the spirit of the United Nations Charter and in unison with the aspirations of the developing countries. The United Nations General Assembly recognised the principles. The principles were widely accepted by the international community as well.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:05:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/in-school/signpost/five-mantras-for-peaceful-coexistence/article6185637.ece

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