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UPDATED: 11:52, June 13, 2004
Five Principles still important in international ties: Indian former president
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Indian former President K.R. Narayanan said on Saturday the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence was significant to the international relations of all countries and is still the same even after 50 years when it was first initiated by China, India and Myanmar "In fact, the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are the basic principles of all human relations," Narayanan told Xinhua in an exclusive interview in his residence.

He recalled that the five principles were first initiated by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in early 1954 while meeting with an Indian delegation. Then in June of the same year, Zhou visited India and Burma (now called Myanmar) and issued communiques based on the five principles. "The five principles were later adopted bymany countries and even accepted by the United Nations," he said.

In the 1950s, that was the tough time for the international community as the Cold War was beginning and alliance and military pacts were formed, fighting against each other. "In this atmosphere, we propounded the five principles, it is a very revolutionary thing," and strengthened security and peace in SouthAsia, he noted.

Narayanan, now 84 years old, served as Indian ambassador to China from 1976 to 1978 and then ambassador to the United States from 1980 to 1984. He became India's president from 1997 to 2002.

Talking about the bilateral relations concerning the five principles, the former president said, "I am very hopeful about the link between India and China that is based on the Five Principles. We should respect these principles of peaceful coexistence. Both nations can stay together. There need not to be any conflict because we are not driven by intention to control anypart of Asia or any other nation. We understand each other. The noteworthy point is that we are not essentially rivals, but complementary countries that can work together. If you develop economically, it is good for us, it is good for you."

Narayanan also said that the five principles are far from outdated even though the world has changed a lot over the past 50 years. "I think a new international order can be built on the basis of the five principles, because these principles recognize dignity and sovereignty of other countries. For any peaceful worldorder, this is the first requisite that you must recognize the sovereignty of each other and respect others' territories."

The world is a very diversified and therefore there are immense difference and diversities in the world. That is one of the charms of living in this world. "Therefore, you must be able to understand and respect the difference of other countries and don't try to change them. This is respecting and not interfering in eachother's relations." Narayanan said, "India believes that India and China could make key inputs to peace and growth in the Asian region as well as the world if the two nations further expand their economies, continue pleasant relations, learn from each other and impart reciprocal cooperation to each other based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence."

Talking about the challenges to the Five Principles, Narayanan said if there is any challenge to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, it is a challenge posed by the most advanced powerful countries of the world, "because they are powerful and have military might and therefore they feel that they should have some extra authority on the world."

He said, "The world cannot be unipolar as that would denote thecommand of one particular group or nation. And I think China also follows the same thought.

In addition, it makes it comfortable forus to work together generally in the global arena."

Source: Xinhua

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