Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 25
President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday saluted the farmers, soldiers and scientists for ensuring food, border and health security of all Indians and backed the farm reform legislations terming them “much awaited”.
In his 72nd Republic Day address to the nation, the President said the government’s commitment to farmers’ welfare remains undoubted.
Hailing the farmers for making India self-reliant in food grains and dairy products and sustaining agricultural production despite COVID 19, the President said a “grateful nation is fully committed to the welfare of our farmers”.
He went on to back the agriculture reform laws noting that 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 the President amid a raging agitation by farmers who will take out a tractor parade against farm laws tomorrow.
The President in his address spoke of brave soldiers of the armed forces who ensure the security of 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,” said the President, hailing Indian scientists for strengthening national endeavours and especially for decoding the coronavirus and developing vaccines in record time.
Urging every Indian to take the vaccine once their time comes, the President said 2020 should be taken as a year of learning.
Saluting doctors, administrators and other COVID warriors who helped keep the fatality rate lower in India compared to the developed countries, the President said, “Our farmers, soldiers and scientists deserve special appreciation and a grateful nation greets them.”
On the country’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 of the country.
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.
He felt that after about a year of this “unforeseen ordeal”, India today stands “not despondent but confident”.
Paying 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, the President 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.”
Kovind said 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.
He 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,” he added.
Kovind said India is moving ahead and taking its rightful place in the world.
“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. — With PTI