The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known as the Panchsheel Treaty Non interference in others internal affairs and respect for each other's territorial unity integrity and sovereignty (from Sanskrit, panch:five, sheel:virtues), are a set of principles to govern relations between states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and India in 1954. They were enunciated in the preamble to the "Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India", which was signed at Peking on 29 April 1954.[1] This agreement stated the five principles 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 cooperation for mutual benefit.
  5. Peaceful co-existence.

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. The principles were emphasized by the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, 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."[2] The five principles were subsequently 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.

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.[3]

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.[4]

The history of the first major enunciation of the Five Principles is not wholly encouraging. China has often emphasized its close association with the Five Principles.[5] 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 29 April 1954 agreement mentioned above was set to last for eight years.[6] 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. However, in the 1970s, the Five Principles again came to be seen as important in Sino-Indian relations, and more generally as norms of relations between states. They have become widely recognized and accepted throughout the region.


  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
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Mohan, C. Raja. "How to intervene". The Indian Express. Retrieved 07/03/2010.  Check date values in: access-date= (help)
  5. ^ "Backgrounder: Five principles of peaceful coexistence". Xinhuanet. 2005-04-08. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  6. ^ The 8-year provision is in Article 6 of the Agreement.
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