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India Wants Strong, Enduring Friendship with China

Indian External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh said Thursday India wants a "strong and enduring" friendship with China on the basis of mutual respect and sensitivity to each other's concerns and aspirations.

"As two ancient civilizations and largest developing countries, the two nations share a great responsibility to strengthen and provide further impetus to (the diplomatic protocol of) Panchsheel," the Press Trust of India quoted Singh as telling a seminar in News Delhi to mark 50 years of Panchsheel.

"If the 21st century is going to be the century of Asia, then India and China have a special role to play in promoting the concepts espoused by Panchsheel," Singh said.

Panchsheel -- a protocol of five diplomatic principles initiated by China, India and Myanmar 50 years ago -- includes mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Panchsheel has outlined the five principles of peaceful co-existence through the examples set by cooperation between India and China as well as their conduct of international relations, said Singh.

Singh said both India and China are seeking a resolution of their protracted boundary dispute.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2004)

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