Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence

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The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Chinese: 和平共处五项原则), also known as Panchsheel, were mentioned in the preamble of the Sino-Indian Agreement 1954.[1][2] The principles subsequently adopted in a number of resolutions and statements, including the preamble to the Constitution of China.[3]


The Five Principles, as stated in the Sino–Indian Agreement 1954, are listed as:

  1. mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty,
  2. mutual non-aggression,
  3. mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs,
  4. equality and co-operation for mutual benefit, and
  5. peaceful co-existence


The panchsheel agreement served as one of the most important relation build between India and China to further the economic and security cooperation. An underlying assumption of the Five Principles was that newly independent states after decolonization would be able to develop a new and more principled approach to international relations.[citation needed]

According to V. V. Paranjpe, an Indian diplomat and expert on China, the principles of Panchsheel were first publicly formulated by Zhou Enlai — "While receiving the Indian delegation to the Tibetan trade talks on Dec. 31, 1953 [...] he enunciated them as "five principles governing China’s relations with foreign countries."[4] Then in a joint statement in Delhi on 18 June 1954,[4] the principles were emphasized by the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Premier Zhou Enlai in a broadcast speech made at the time of the Asian Prime Ministers Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka just a few days after the signing of the Sino-Indian treaty in Beijing. Nehru went so far as to say: "If these principles were recognized in the mutual relations of all countries, then indeed there would hardly be any conflict and certainly no war."[5] It has been suggested that the five principles had partly originated as the five principles of the Indonesian state. In June 1945 Sukarno, the Indonesian nationalist leader, had proclaimed five general principles, or pancasila, on which future institutions were to be founded. Indonesia became independent in 1949.[6]

The five principles were incorporated in modified form in a statement of ten principles issued in April 1955 at the historic Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, which did more than any other meeting to form the idea that post-colonial states had something special to offer the world. "A resolution on peaceful co-existence jointly presented by India, Yugoslavia and Sweden was unanimously adopted in 1957 by the United Nations General Assembly".[7] The Five Principles as they had been adopted in Colombo and elsewhere formed the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement, established in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1961.[8]

China has often emphasized its close association with the Five Principles.[9] It had put them forward, as the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, at the start of negotiations that took place in Delhi from December 1953 to April 1954 between the Delegation of the PRC Government and the Delegation of the Indian Government on the relations between the two countries with respect to the disputed territories of Aksai Chin and what China calls South Tibet and India Arunachal Pradesh. The 28 April 1954 agreement mentioned above was set to last for eight years.[10] When it lapsed, relations were already souring, the provision for renewal of the agreement was not taken up, and the Sino-Indian War broke out between the two sides.

In 1979, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then India's Foreign Minister and future Prime Minister, went to China, the word Panchsheel, found its way into the conversation during talks with the Chinese.[11] On the 50th anniversary of the treaty, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, said that "a new international order on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence" should be built.[12] Also in 2004, Premier Wen Jiabao said,[3]

It is on the basis of the Five Principles that China has established and developed diplomatic relations with 165 countries and carried out trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges and cooperation with over 200 countries and regions. It is on the basis of the Five Principles that China has, through peace negotiations, resolved the boundary issues with most neighbors and maintained peace and stability in its surrounding areas. And it is on the basis of the Five Principles that China has provided economic and technical aid with no political strings attached [...]

In June 2014, Vice President of India Hamid Ansari was welcomed by China into the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the signing Panchsheel Treaty.[13] In 2017, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that "China is ready to work with India to seek guidance from the five principles of Panchsheel".[14]

Commentary and criticism[edit]

Bhimrao Ambedkar said of the treaty in the Rajya Sabha "I am indeed surprised that our Hon’ble Prime Minister is taking this Panchsheel seriously [...] you must be knowing that Panchsheel is one of the significant parts of the Buddha Dharma. If Shri Mao had even an iota of faith in Panchsheel, he would have treated the Buddhists in his country in a different manner."[15] In 1958, Acharya Kriplani had said the Panchsheel was "born in sin" because it was set forth with the destruction of a nation; India had approved of ancient Tibet's destruction.[15]

In 2014, Zhao Gancheng, a Chinese scholar said that on the surface Panchsheel seemed very superficial; but under Xi Jinping Administration it has become relevant again.[13] In 2014, Ram Madhav wrote a piece in the Indian Express titled, "Moving beyond the Panchsheel deception" and said that if India and China decide to move on from the Panchsheel framework, it will benefit both countries.[16]

List of documents containing the five principles[edit]


  • Preamble to the Constitution of China[3]

China and Afghanistan[edit]

  • Friendship and Mutual Non-Aggression Agreement, 1960[17]
  • Boundary Treaty, 1963[17]

China and Burma[edit]

  • Joint Statement, June 20, 1954[17]
  • Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Non-Aggression Agreement, 1960[17]
  • Agreement on the Question of Boundary, 1960[17]
  • Boundary Treaty, 1960[17]

China and Cambodia[edit]

  • Joint Statement, 1958[17]
  • Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Non-Aggression Agreement, 1960[17]
  • Joint Communique, 1960[17]

China and India[edit]

China and Nepal[edit]

  • Agreement on the normalisation of diplomatic relations, 1955[17]
  • Treaty between the PRC and the Kingdom of Nepal, 1956[17]
  • Agreement on Economic Assistance to Nepal, 1956[17]
  • Agreement on the Question of Boundary, 1960[17]
  • Treaty of peace and friendship, 1960[17]
  • Boundary Treaty, 1961[17]

China and Pakistan[edit]

  • Boundary Agreement, 1963 (Ten principles)[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The full text of this agreement (which entered into force on 3 June 1954) is in United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 299, United Nations, pp. 57-81. Available at
  3. ^ a b c Jiabao, Wen (28 June 2004). "Carrying Forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the Promotion of Peace and Development". Speech by Wen Jiabao Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China At Rally Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Retrieved 2021-03-01. Enshrined in China's Constitution, the Five Principles have long been held as the cornerstone of China's independent foreign policy of peace.
  4. ^ a b Paranjpe, V. V. (2004-06-26). "Panchsheel: The untold story". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  5. ^ Nehru, "The Colombo Powers’ Peace Efforts", broadcast from Colombo 2 May 1954, Jawaharlal Nehru’s and Mr Sanju from Poojapura, Speeches, vol. 3, March 1953–August 1957 (New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1958), p. 253.
  6. ^ Henri Grimal, Decolonization: The British, French, Dutch and Belgian Empires, 1919-1963, trans. Stephan de Vos, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1978, pp. 190 and 209-12.
  7. ^ Somnath Ghosh. India's Place in the World: From Panchsheel to RCEP. Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies. Retrieved on 10 November 2020.
  8. ^ Mohan, C. Raja (7 March 2011). "How to intervene". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Backgrounder: Five principles of peaceful coexistence". Xinhuanet. 2005-04-08. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  10. ^ The 8-year provision is in Article 6 of the Agreement.
  11. ^ Trumbull, Robert (1979-02-18). "'Panchsheel' Is Revived, But . . ". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  12. ^ "Build a new international order on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence — Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China". Embassy of China in New Delhi. 1 April 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  13. ^ a b Krishnan, Ananth (2014-06-24). "In China's new diplomacy, a revival of 'Panchsheel'". The Hindu (in en-IN). ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2020-09-25.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  14. ^ "Modi China visit: Xi Jinping hails JL Nehru in meet with PM Modi, says willing to work with India on principles of Panchsheel". The Financial Express. 2017-09-05. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  15. ^ a b LL Mehrotra (2000). India’s Tibet Policy: An Appraisal And Options. pp 25, 26. Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre. Third edition. New Delhi.
  16. ^ Madhav, Ram (2014-06-28). "Moving beyond the Panchsheel deception". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Tzou, Byron N. (1990). China and International Law: The Boundary Disputes. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-275-93462-0.
  18. ^ "Sino-Indian Joint Press Communique (Beijing, 23 December 1988)". Retrieved 2021-02-28.
  19. ^ "China, India to Build Strategic Partnership". Xinhua News Agency. 12 April 2005. Retrieved 2021-07-02.
  20. ^ "Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of India and the Ministry of National Defence of the People's Republic of China for Exchanges and Cooperation in the field of Defence (May 28, 2006)". Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  21. ^ "Joint Statement between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China on Building a Closer Developmental Partnership (September 19, 2014)". Retrieved 2021-03-01.

Further reading[edit]

  • (June 2014) Panchsheel. External Publicity Division, Ministry Of External Affairs, Government Of India.
  • Sophie Richardson (December 2009). China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231143868