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HT This Day: March 19, 1955 — ‘Panch shila’ best guarantee for world peace

A joint declaration, affirming the faith of Cambodia and India in the “ Panch Shila “-the five principles of peaceful co-existence among nations-was issued at midnight tonight after the conclusion of the talks between Mr Nehru and the Cambodian Government delegation headed by Prince Norodom Sihanouk Varman.

HT This Day: March 19, 1955 — ‘Panch shila’ best guarantee for world peace

A joint ‘ communique ‘ on the talks, which runs on the pattern of the Nehru-Chou and Nehru-Tito declarations, emphasized that the delegation of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Prime Minister of India were agreed that the best guarantee for peace in the world and for friendship between countries is to adhere to the five principles.

The five principles are: recognition of each other’s sovereignty, independence and integrity; nonaggression; equality and mutual respect; non-interference in the domestic affairs of each other or of other countries; and promotion of conditions for peaceful coexistence.

The Governments of Cambodia and India also agreed that the Geneva Agreements should be fully implemented and that efforts should be made to strengthen the independence of Cambodia.

The Government of India have also assured the Cambodian delegation of their desire to give such assistance to Cambodia as lies in their power.


The two Governments have also agreed to exchange diplomatic missions on a Legation level soon.

At a banquet tonight in honour of the Prince of Cambodia at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mr Nehru, proposing the toast of the King of Cambodia, expressed his great happiness over Cambodia and India “ picking up again the threads of friendship and co-operation.” He praised the Prince for giving up his kingship and functioning as the national leader of the people.

The Prime Minister is presenting to the Prince tomorrow a sapling from the Bodhi Tree, the gift being a symbol of India’s desire “ to tread the path of co-operation and friendship.”

Prince Sihanouk, who proposed the toast of the President of India, paid a tribute to Mr Nehru for his initiative in propounding policies which, he emphasized, were best calculated to safeguard world peace and promote the security of all nations in Asia.


The following is the text of the joint communique:

“At the invitation of the Government of India, Prince Norodom Sihanouk Varman and the Prime Minister of Cambodia have come on a brief visit to India. During their stay in New Delhi, they have had friendly and informal talks with the Prime Minister of India. These talks have dealt with many matters of common interest for the two countries as well as some aspects of world problems which affect them. “

The historical connections and close cultural affinity between India and Cambodia, which date back to a remote past have enabled the leader of the Cambodian delegation and the Prime Minister of India to understand and appreciate each other’s point of view. They also provide a guarantee for the continuance of friendly relations in the future.”

“The leader of the Cambodian delegation expressed his appreciation of India’s general approach to world problem and desire for the maintenance of peace. The delegation and the Prime Minister of India agreed that the best guarantee for peace in the world and for friendship between countries is to adhere to the principles of the recognition of each other’s sovereignty, independence and integrity, of non-aggression, of equality and mutual respect and of non-interference in the domestic affairs of each other or of other countries and on the promotion of conditions for peaceful coexistence.


“The two Governments were also agreed that the Geneva agreements should be fully implemented and that every effort should be made to preserve and strengthen the independence of Cambodia and improve the condition of its people. The best guarantee of peace and democracy lies in the pursuit of a progressive social and economic policy.

“The two Governments will co-operate to the maximum extent possible in cultural matters.” The Government of India assured the Cambodian delegation of their desire to give such assistance to Cambodia as lay in their power.

“The two Governments agreed to exchange diplomatic missions on a Legation level at an early date.”


Mr Nehru, welcoming the Cambodian delegation, said: Some months ago, I visited Cambodia. Certain developments and certain events have taken place in the meantime. My visit to Cambodia fulfilled a long-felt desire of mine to visit that country. I saw in those days Your Royal Highness functioning as the King of Cambodia. During the last few weeks, a rather unique. and possibly unparalleled thing happened, and that is, the young King, in the flush of his youth, of his own will, decided to abdicate his post of honour, of responsibility. I do not know if there is a similar example anywhere else. Many kings have disappeared as kings and people had chosen their leaders in a different way. I do not know of any example of a king giving up his kingship and joining the people and functioning as the national leader of the people. That is remarkable.

During the past year or more, Your Royal Highness repeatedly helped the people in their struggle for independence and they succeeded in achieving that independence. This was a great event in the history of Cambodia and yet there is no end to a nation’s tasks or a nation’s problems. And now you and your country have naturally to face other problems not only political but even more so, social and economic because a country and its people inevitably think of progress, of advancing in social life and, above all, removing the various burdens they suffer from poverty. That is a tremendous task and that is a task to which not only your country but our country and many countries of Asia are devoted.

I had pleasure in meeting Your Highness in Cambodia and I am very happy that you, Sir, your Prime Minister and your other advisers have found it convenient to visit us to build up friendship and the old relations of more than thousand years between India and Cambodia, and I feel very happy that we are picking up again the threads of friendship and co-operation. I earnestly hope that Your Royal Highness’ visit will strengthen those bonds in this modern age of conflict.


We shall co-operate in the big task ahead, the greatest of which is the preservation of peace, the preservation of our hard-won freedom independence, so that no one else should interfere, so that we might have the chance to grow as we wish to, so that each country may fashion its own life according to its will. Those are the principles for which we in India stand and we have, therefore, endeavoured with. if I may say so. not a little success to win the friendship of many countries-of all countries to some extent, even countries which may not feel very friendly to each other-yet we have been fortunate and privileged to have the friendship of even those countries which may not feel co-operatively towards each other.

At any time that would have been desirable and welcome and that would have been in keeping with our country’s outlook, with the lesson that our great leader, Mahatma Gandhi, taught us. That would have been so at any time, but at present when grave problems confront the world. it has become even more necessary and essential that we should seek these paths of co-operation and friendship and give up the ways of hatred, enmity and conflict.

One of the greatest gifts that this country gave to your land of Kamboj was the message of the Buddha, the message of Peace and Friendship. And perhaps at no other time, is that message more needed in our countries as well as in other countries as today. I hope, Sir, tomorrow when you are leaving New Delhi, to present you a small and simple gift and yet, I think, a very precious one, that is, a sapling from the Bodhi tree of Buddha Gaya. And I hope that will remind you and your people of not only of our feelings to your country, our old relationship, but that in the future too we tread that path of co-operation and friendship.


We in India earnestly wish your people in your country, Sir, progress and prosperity and if in any way we can help in that our services will be at the disposal of your country. I hope that the few days that you are going to spend in this country will not only be pleasant but will give you some further insight into the various aspects of India, because there are aspects which are present here, in addition to perhaps innumerable others-the aspect of the old India which you will see at Sanchi, at Buddha Gaya. and the aspect, the face of new India which you will see in your visit to Damodar Valley.

Damodar Valley is one such face of the new India, there are many others all over this country, where our people are labouring and working hard, day and night often, to build up this new India because while we value greatly the old India which has made us what we are, we live in a new India and we hope to build a newer India tomorrow. And the newer India, we hope, will live in friendship and co-operation with all countries, but more specially, those countries with whom we were associated in ages past.


Prince Norodom said:

The generous hospitality and the welcome we have received has admirably revived the ties of friendship between the people of India and the people of Cambodia ever since Cambodia came into existence, that is, from times immemorial. We hope to discover in India the glories of our past-that past which owes so much to your ancient civilization, to your lofty culture, to your incomparable heritage, religious and scientific as well as human. Our visit in India has enabled us to establish one more link between that glorious past and the present period which is that of our rebirth to independence.

By inviting us here you have given us the opportunity to find here an example of light and faith that will guide us to a future of peace of social rehabilitation, of freedom and of justice. For all that and for the noble part taken by India in our return to the condition of a sovereign nation, of a free and peaceful people, I beg you to accept the tribute of our great friendly gratitude which I pay in my capacity as the former King of Cambodia and representative of the new King and of the entire Cambodian people. I feel deeply honoured and privileged to be so hospitably received amidst you and I express my heartfelt thanks for according me this welcome. If you will allow me, I should like to say here that our final success in the achievement of national independence for our people was very largely due to the moral support of India for which no words can sufficiently express our gratitude and admiration.


In speaking to you of Cambodia I feel somewhat embarrassed to speak about myself. But I know that India is very deeply interested in the future of my country and my people and you will, therefore, forgive me if I say to you a few words concerning my recent abdication.

The fact is that my abdication from the throne of Cambodia has no other motive than my own very sincere conviction that my duty as a ruling monarch has come to an end with the attainment of the national independence of our people and that another task is now awaiting me. This task is the solution of the social problem and the promotion of a genuine democratic system by putting an end to a situation in which the powers of Government had become concentrated in the hands of a small privileged class who could in no sense be said to represent the real interests of the people and which in fact was exploiting them. It is my aim to ensure that these powers will be exercised by the people themselves and to give to them the means of removing the injustices, corruption and exploitation from which they have suffered so long.

It is my belief that such a task cannot be properly fulfilled by a reigning sovereign who finds himself imprisoned within a rigid system which cannot be easily adjusted because that system was created by interested persons who have since caused our people to lose faith in those so-called democratic institutions which were in fact based on foreign systems of government ill-suited to the nature and needs of our people.

By renouncing the throne, I desire, therefore, to serve my people in order to achieve these aims.


In the achievement of these objectives I look towards India, her Government and her people for that constant guidance and inspiration for which our people have the deepest respect and admiration. We in Cambodia seek also to uphold those great efforts towards world peace for which you, Mr Prime Minister, have the initiative and which are, to my mind, the policies best calculated to safeguard the system and security of all nations in Asia as well as the peace of the world.

It is with the object of reassuring the Indian people of our unity of ideals that I have today the great honour and pleasure to present myself as the leader of an official delegation from my country.

May this visit strengthen the old ties of friendship that have bound us together in the past. May it foster all the benefits that may result for our people from a closer cooperation between our two nations and from the help that India may be able to give to her small sister nation, Cambodia. With this hope I express to you once again our grateful thanks and the sincere good wishes of Cambodia for the continued prosperity and welfare of the Republic of India and of the great Indian nation.

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