In message on I-Day eve, President hails Galwan heroes, Covid warriors
Exactly two months after the fierce clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan valley, President Ram Nath Kovind sent out a clear warning on Friday that India is “capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression” as he addressed the nation on the eve of 74th Independence Day.
Though Kovind did not name China, he slammed the neighbour’s “misadventure of expansion” at a time when the world needs to come together to fight against Covid-19, which he described as the “the greatest challenge before humanity”.
The bloody conflict in the Galwan valley on June 15 left 20 Indian and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers dead. Since then, the two sides are locked in discussions to disengage and de-escalate but China has so far not moved back from some critical areas despite five rounds of top-level military talks between the two sides.
“The world now realizes what our sages had said long ago: the global community is but one family; “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam”. However, even while the world community needs to fight together against the greatest challenge before humanity, some in our neighbourhood tried to carry out their misadventure of expansion,” Kovind said.
The President also spoke about India being at the forefront in evolving regional and global strategies for an effective response to the Covid pandemic, and said that timely and “superhuman efforts” contained the pandemic in the country and saved many lives.
He touched upon the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, describing it as a “moment of pride for all”.
Paying respect to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives defending the borders, Kovind said “Those worthy sons of Bharat Mata lived and died for national pride. The entire nation salutes the martyrs of Galwan Valley.”
He added: “Their bravery in combat has demonstrated that while we believe in peace, we are also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression,” expressing pride in Indian armed forces, paramilitary forces and police personnel “who protect the borders, and ensure our internal security”.
As India gears up to an unprecedented subdued celebration of Independence Day, Kovind hailed Covid warriors as national heroes, said the pandemic has taught “tough lessons” of life and “demolished the illusion that human being is the master of nature”. He appealed to the humanity to “correct its course and live in harmony with nature” and said he crisis offered opportunities for economic revival.
Even as the Modi government’s handling of the Covid situation has come under immense criticism in the political circle, the President said that the Centre, “while anticipating the tremendous challenge, responded effectively and well in time” and added that it requires “superhuman efforts for a country so vast and diverse with high population density” to meet these challenges.
Kovind said India’s committed efforts that “succeeded in containing the magnitude of the pandemic and saving a large number of lives” is worth emulating by the wider world.
The pandemic, like climate change, has awakened the global community to our shared destiny, said Kovind as he saw more importance in “human-centric collaboration” than ”economy-centric inclusion”. He also appealed to rise above all man-made differences, strengthen virtue in conduct, expand public health infrastructure and accelerate developments in science and technology—a reminder on how India built Covid-related medical items such as ventilators or PPE kits almost from a scratch, and is now able to export them to other countries.
Kovind’s speech, just 10 days after the “bhoomi pujan” of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, dubbed the event as “a moment of pride for all” as he mentioned how people maintained “restraint and patience” for a long time and reposed “unflinching trust in the judicial system”.
“The issue of Ram Janmabhoomi was resolved through judicial process. All concerned parties and the people respectfully accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court and displayed before the world, Indian ethos of peace, non-violence, love and harmony,” he said on Thursday.
In the backdrop of the pandemic, the President narrated all welfare interventions such as the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana” to help the poor and daily wage-earners — the worst-hit people in the pandemic — and enabled millions to earn their livelihood, and mitigate the impact of job losses.
He also spoke about the largest free foodgrain distribution programme to help about 800 million people every month, while “Vande Bharat Mission” brought back more than 1 million Indians through the Indian Railways.
“In responding to calls from countries for supply of medicines, India has once again shown that it stands by the global community in times of distress. We have been at the forefront in evolving regional and global strategies for an effective response to the pandemic. The overwhelming support India got at the elections for the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council is a testimony to the goodwill we enjoy internationally,” said Kovind.
With India embarking on a new Atmanirbhar policy boost its internal economic potential, Kovind sent a message that India’s tradition has always been not to live for ourselves, “but work for the well-being of the entire world”.
“India’s self-reliance means being self-sufficient without alienating or creating distance from the world. It implies that India will continue to engage with the world economy while maintaining its identity,” the President said.