Amid on-going tensions with China on the Ladakh border , President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday asserted that Indian armed forces are “adequately mobilised in a well-coordinated manner to thwart any attempt to undermine national security” while reiterating the country’s commitment to peace.
Addressing the nation on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day, President Kovind mentioned that the ‘path of reforms give rise to initial misapprehensions’ but the government is committed to welfare of the farmers.
“The path of reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions but the government is singularly devoted to the farmers’ welfare,” Mr. Kovind said as the protests by the farmer unions demanding repeal of the three laws has continued for over two months outside Delhi.
Noting that India is now referred to as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ given its ability to supply medicines to the world, the President urged citizens to come forward to get vaccinated following all the protocols.
Talking about the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19, Mr. Kovind said an effective response to the pandemic would not have been possible without the Constitutional value of ‘fraternity’ among the people of the country.
Calling 2020 as a year of learning, he said India stands today confident after a year of ‘unforeseen ordeal’, converted adversity into an opportunity with the Prime Minister’s call to Atma Nirbhar (self reliant) campaign and foiled expansionist attempts at the borders.
The President paid tribute to the 20 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives at Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh last June during a violent face-off with the Chinese troops.
“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,” President Kovind said, adding that India has ‘ensured’ widespread understanding in the international community of her firm and principled stand.
Lauding the farmers for ensuring food security by making India self-reliant in foodgrains and dairy products even after facing several natural adversity and the COVID-19, he said a grateful nation is committed to farmers’ welfare.
“Adversity often plays the role of a great teacher. It makes us 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,” he said.
Talking about economic resilience, the President said the country has not only seen unprecendent GST collections recently but also emerged as a favourite destination for foreign investments.
He said with easy loans and innovative ideas, the government has encouraged micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to unleash its ‘animal spirits’ as well as provide employment.
Thanking doctors, nurses, sanitation and others frontline workers and people who led India’s fight against COVID, Mr. Kovind also thanked scientists for developing vaccines.
“The administration and health services are working with full readiness to make this exercise a success. I urge upon the countrymen to utilise this lifeline and get vaccinated as per guidelines. Your health opens the way for your advancement,” he said.
The President noted that though COVID-19 threatened to derail many things including education, teachers rose to the occasion to adopt technology; democracy flourished as elections in the highly populous State of Bihar was held as well as district council polls in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and courts continued to dispense justice using technology.
Dwelling on foreign policy, President Koind said, “During the recent years, its 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 Security Council this year is indicative of that influence.”
He said the engagement with world leaders has enhanced manifold and India, with its vibrant democracy, has rightfully earned its respect as a responsible and trustworthy nation.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls for ‘Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ or ‘Self-reliant India Mission’ is a move towards converting a crisis into an opportunity and shape a new India by the year 2022, when independent India turns 75.
“This will be a significant milestone in the journey of the nation as we are determined to achieve major goals: from providing pucca houses with basic facilities for every family to doubling the income of farmers. In order to build an inclusive society of new India, we are giving special emphasis on education, health, nutrition, upliftment of the under-privileged and welfare of women,” he said.