Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised Jawaharlal Nehru's political will, warned of evil forces all round and appealed to everyone to help make the world a better place while receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Jawaharlal Nehru University here on Wednesday.
“His personality was of world calibre, he was never searching for benefits but worked for long-term development, there is a lot to be learnt from the political legacy and heritage of Jawaharlal Nehru,” he said, adding that leaders of his calibre who had the courage to uphold values were responsible for the end of the cold war. He reiterated that the dynamics of the world had changed and that there were more than just two powerful world forces today and that everyone was going through testing times.
“Countries are being tested for duress…you know what I mean. Evil spreads around quickly and protection from this evil must be consolidated,” he said, and talked in depth about the recent nuclear summit in Korea. “We have cordial relations with France, but India is simply our very serious partner.”
His sentiments were echoed by Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal who said that the friendly relations between the two countries in this 60 year of their friendship were a model for other nations to emulate. “The seeds of JNU were sown with Russian studies as its nucleus,” he added.
JNU Vice-Chancellor Sudhir K. Sopory conferred the degree on the visiting dignitary.
The Russian President, as a former lecturer of St. Petersburg State University, was also especially honoured and appreciated the award of the degree as an academic. “I was a faculty member and dealt with scientific and political subjects…I am especially honoured because of this,” he said, while informing the audience about the extent of the Russian presence in India's higher education system. “We have very important projects in the country; around 120 projects have been implemented in more than 60 research institutions. There are currently around 1,000 students from India in our universities… our universities also help in formulating our foreign policy.”
He also talked at length about the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit for which he is here in the Capital. “BRICS is relatively a young entity. With the inclusion of South Africa, it has now become a global entity. We have large States united (in this group) and we have a substantial share of the world's GDP….. People do listen to us,” he observed.
He also spoke about India's capital city. “I took a walk around your monuments to get a sense of the rhythm….people here have good intentions and open souls… we have the same problems… To make life decent for our citizens, we need to address issues of economy and security,” he said, and ended his address with this message: “It is within our reach to make this place a better place to live”.