Monday, June 28, 2004

Struggle for Co-Existence

“The Appropriate code of conduct for a Globalised world should be the five principles of Peaceful Co-Existence and not the over-lordship of one super power or group of nations” said former Indian President K.R.Narayanan addressing a two-day international seminar on Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence in Beijing on 15th June 2004.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the five principles (pancha sheela) agreement initiated by India, China and Myanmar in 29 June, 1954. The five principles are on mutual respect to each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; mutual non-aggression; mutual non-interference of each other’s internal affairs; equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-Existence. Even after 50 years Five Principles remains extremely relevant and valid framework for peace and sovereignty in the world. The five principles has relevance to the changing world of today and tomorrow where every one struggle for Co-Existence.

The Five Principles:

The word “Pancha sheela” denoted “Five Taboos” in the ancient Buddhist scriptures governing the personal behaviour of Indian (later Chinese and other foreign) monks. This was taken from the holy book by the first Prime Minister of independent India Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru to be applicable for international behaviour and order. It is also stated that Jawaharlal Nehru was borrowed the idea from Gandhian Philosophy of Satyagraha – the non-violence to use for peaceful coexistence with the neighbouring countries. Nehru was convinced that five principles would bring changes in the international relation and would help in bridging gap between United States and former Soviet Union.
Peaceful Co-Existence have become the basic norms in developing and maintaining state to state relations transcending regional social, cultural and economic barriers. The five principles of peaceful coexistence are diametrically opposed to power politics which have been in dominance in the international relations over the last few centuries.

Relevance in present world context

Five principles has undoubted relevance in the present world order to bring mutual understanding and cooperation among the nations. The major primary beneficiaries of the principle agreement have been India and China. India and China resolved their long standing border issue through this agreement. The present world where border issue has been the cause of conflict for many African and Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Somalia, Somaliland, Israel and Palestine, Indonesia and Timor etc . The five principles will help in building an environment for mutual trust, security and reconciling border issues.

Equality and mutual benefit was one of the basic principles of Pancha Sheela. Under the agreement both country had decided to open trade centres in different places of the countries with mutual understanding and respect to trade and traders. In the present world system where countries are struggling for trade and commerce and there is a huge gap between International and multi national companies and local producers could learn lessons from the agreement. The agreement says “the Trade Agencies of both parties shall be accorded the same status and same treatment”. The article of the agreement says,
“Inhabitants of the border districts of the two countries, who cross borders to carry on petty trade or to visit friends and relatives, may proceed to the border districts of the other party as they have customarily done heretofore and need not be restricted to the passes and route specified in Article IV above and shall not be required to hold passports, visas or permits”. This article will not only encourages inter – country or inter-region trade and relation but also at the present context enlightens International Trade Organizations like WTO to think over this.
“Pilgrims of both countries need not carry documents of certification but shall register at the border check post of the other party and receive a permit for pilgrimage”. This article profoundly establishes relationship between the people of both countries and spreads cultural and religious harmony among the nations.
Mutual respect to each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as one of the principles demonstrates respect to the country and its sovereignty. In the present world context it would help to build peace and would remove conflict between the countries.

Challenges before Co-Existence
Co-existence means learning to live together. Co-existence is accepting diversity and implying positive and truthful relationship among the humanity. Co-existence should not be seen within a limited framework of inter-state relation but should be perceived as intra-state, intra-community, intra-religion paradigm. The present world is separated in races, groups, clans, rich and poor, north and south. The great challenge is to build confidence among people and countries. Provide scope and opportunity to understand each other and to build up relationship and trust. Co-existence between people, races, religious groups, clans, tribes within a broad spectrum of distinctiveness will be the real test for all of us in the coming years. Human dignity and freedom of independence will be the measuring rod for the civilization.
Our Commitment:
The commitment for institutionalizing co-existence should be the agenda for all. It should start with the people, community, and civil society as a social movement not as a political agenda. Education is the basic foundation for the coexistence. Stronger education system with a responsive civil society and effective governance together can bring changes in the present world order.


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