Natwar urges Pakistan to embrace ?Buddhist peace?

Daily Times (AFP), Nov 19, 2004

NEW DELHI, India -- Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh said on Thursday that Buddhist principles of ?mutual respect and peaceful co-existence? should guide relations between India and Pakistan.

Mr Singh urged Pakistan to embrace the Buddhist vision of peace enshrined in the Panchsheel treaty signed on April 29, 1954 between India?s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the treaty, Mr Singh said that no framework could be better for strengthening Indo-Pak relations than the five principles of Panchsheel or peaceful co-existence.

He said that over the last year both India and Pakistan had embarked on a process of confidence building measures that had created an atmosphere conducive to strengthening bilateral ties. He added that ending the atmosphere of violence and terrorism was an integral part of this process.

Mr Singh went on to say that Panchsheel emerged half a century ago as a framework for a normative code of conduct between nations and that its philosophy was hundreds of years old.

He added that its origins could be found in the code of personal conduct enshrined in the philosophy of Buddhism, based on peaceful co-existence and cooperation for mutual benefit.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is due to visit Delhi next Tuesday, kicking off the second phase of the composite dialogue talks.