New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind asserted Monday that while India remains committed to peace, its Armed Forces are ‘adequately mobilised’ in a ‘well-coordinated’ move to thwart any attempt to undermine national security. He referred to the ‘expansionist’ move by China in Ladakh last year while addressing the nation on the eve of the Republic Day. “Our national interest will be protected at all costs,” Ram Nath Kovind told the nation. He also sought to allay fears of farmers over the three contentious farm laws.
“The path of reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions. However, the government is singularly devoted to the farmers’ welfare,” Kovind said. His statement came at a time as the protests by the farmer unions demanding repeal of the three laws continues at border points in Delhi.
On India’s efforts to fight COVID-19, the President said an effective response to the pandemic would not have been possible without the Constitutional value of ‘Fraternity’ among the people. He also took pride in the fact that India was called as ‘pharmacy of the world’ for supplying medicine to several countries to contain sufferings across the globe.
The president also paid tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives at Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh last June during clashes with the Chinese troops. He said the past year ‘was a time of adversity, and it came from many fronts’.
“We faced an expansionist move on our borders, but our valiant soldiers foiled it. To achieve this objective, 20 of them had to lay down their lives,” stated Kovind. He informed the nation shall remain grateful to those brave soldiers.
“Though we reiterate our commitment to peace, our defence forces – Army, Air Force and Navy – are adequately mobilised in a well-coordinated move to thwart any attempt to undermine our security. Our national interest will be protected at all costs. We have also ensured a widespread understanding in the international community of India’s firm and principled stand,” the president said. India and China are locked in a nearly nine-month long military standoff in eastern Ladakh.
The president said adversity often plays the role of a great teacher and makes people stronger and more confident. With that confidence, India has taken great strides in several sectors.
“Economic reforms have continued apace and have been supplemented by long-pending reforms in the areas of labour and agriculture through legislation. The path to reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions. However, it is beyond doubt that the Government remains singularly devoted to farmers’ welfare,” said Kovind.
“During the recent years, India’s arc of influence has been expanding and encompassing the larger part of the world. The manner in which India got overwhelming support of the international community for its entry as non-permanent member in the UN Security Council this year is indicative of that influence,” added Kovind.
Paying tributes to the farmers, the president said every Indian salutes our farmers who have made our vast and populous country self-reliant in food-grains and dairy products. He said that despite adversities of nature, numerous other challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic the farmers sustained the agricultural production. “A grateful nation is fully committed to the welfare of our farmers,” asserted Kovind.
The president said that like hardworking farmers ensure food security for India, the brave soldiers ensure security of our national boundaries amid severest conditions.
“From the freezing cold at Siachen and Galwan valley in Ladakh with temperatures as low as minus 50 to 60 degree Celsius to the scorching heat in Jaisalmer with temperatures as high as 50 degree Celsius – on land, in the skies and at the vast coastal areas – our warriors are vigilant every moment. Every citizen feels proud about the bravery, patriotism and the spirit of sacrifice among our soldiers,” Kovind said.
Kovind also spoke about the scientist community saying that by their contribution to food and national security, protection against disease and disasters and to different areas of development they have strengthened the national endeavours.
“From space to the farms, from educational institutions to hospitals, the community of scientists has enriched our life and work. Our scientists have been working day and night for decoding the coronavirus and they have succeeded in developing the vaccine in record time. With this accomplishment, our scientists have added a glorious chapter of contribution to the well-being of humanity,” he stated.
Kovind also pointed out that the scientists, along with doctors, administrators and people from other walks of life, have made major contribution in containing the virus and keeping the fatality rate lower in our country, compared to that in developed countries.
“Today, India is being rightly called ‘pharmacy of the world’ as we are supplying medicines and other healthcare items to several countries to alleviate people’s suffering and contain the pandemic across the globe. Now we also provide vaccines to other countries. The net outcome of all these efforts is before us,” the president said.