Panchsheel and Non-Alignment Policy of India

Panchsheel is also called as the five virtues or what is popularly known as the "Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence". This became the guiding principle in India's international relations as well as in the relations between other countries. In fact, this was independent India's very first foreign policy initiative towards China when both countries signed an agreement on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet Autonomous region and India on 29th April 1954.

The preamble of the agreement stated the five principles as follows:

  1. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty
  2. Mutual non-aggression
  3. Mutual non-interference
  4. Equality and mutual benefit
  5. Peaceful Co-existence

Effect of Five Principles (Panchsheel)

The five principles not only served as a policy between India - China relations but subsequently extended as a policy framework in the relations with other countries also. In due course of time, the principles were incorporated into the movement that came to be called "Non-aligned Movement" or NAM, which came into existence in 1961 when colonial rule collapsed and several Asian and African countries gained independence.

The movement was spearheaded by India along with Egypt, Ghana, Yugoslavia and Indonesia who became the founding fathers of NAM. The five principles served as an important policy for the movement aiming to bring about world peace and security.