Without taking the name of China, the President said, the world community needs to fight together against the greatest challenge before humanity

While greeting people on the eve of the 74th Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday expressed his gratitude towards freedom fighters whose “thoughts and actions shaped the identity of India as a modern nation.”

“The ethos of our freedom struggle forms the foundation of modern India. Our visionary leaders brought together a diversity of world views to forge a common national spirit. They were committed to the cause of liberating Bharat Mata from oppressive foreign rule and securing the future of her children,” the President said.

However, without taking the name of China, the President slammed it for its expansionist design

“Some in our neighbourhood tried to carry out their misadventure of expansion. Our brave soldiers laid down their lives defending our borders. Those worthy sons of Bharat Mata lived and died for national pride. The entire nation salutes the martyrs of Galwan Valley. Every Indian feels grateful to their family members,” the President said.

“Their (Indian soldiers) 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. We are proud of the members of our Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and police personnel who protect the borders, and ensure our internal security,” he added.

Remembering the role played by Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom movement, he said, “As much a saint as a political leader, he was a phenomenon that could have happened only in India. Troubled by social strife, economic problems, and climate change, the world seeks relief in Gandhiji’s teachings. His quest for equality and justice is the mantra for our Republic. I am glad to see the younger generations re-discover Gandhiji.”

He expressed his sorrow that due to deadly coronavirus, all activities have taken a huge toll and that the celebration of Independence Day will be rather restrained this year. But he praised doctors, nurses and health workers who have been on the forefront of fight against the virus. But he welcomed the steps taken by the Centre to support the poor and daily wage-earners.

“By introducing ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana’, the government has enabled crores of people to earn their livelihood, and mitigate the impact of job-loss, dislocation and disruption caused by the pandemic. The government continues to extend its helping hand through a number of initiatives, supported whole-heartedly by the corporate sector, civil society and citizens,” the President added.

He further said, “the largest free food distribution programme in the world has been extended till the end of November 2020 to provide succour to about 80 crore people every month. In order to ensure that migratory ration card holders get ration anywhere in the country, all states are being brought under the coverage of ‘One Nation - One Ration Card’ scheme.”

About the evacuation of Indian nationals stranded across the world due to the pandemic situation, he said, the Centre is “committed to taking care of our people stranded anywhere in the world, the Government has brought back more than 10 lakh Indians under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. Indian Railways has been operating train services, in these challenging circumstances, to facilitate travel and transportation of people and goods.”

Dwelling on India’s magnanimity in supplying medicines and medical help to many parts of the world, the President said,” we reached out to help other countries in their fight against COVID-19. 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.”

He held the country’s behavior during the Covid-19 situation as a testimony to “the overwhelming support India got at the elections for the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council.”

The President also talked about the ‘National Education Policy’ and beginning of the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya. But he said when India won freedom, many predicted that “our experiment with democracy will not last long. They saw our ancient traditions and rich diversity as hurdles in democratization of our polity. But we have always nurtured them as our strengths that make the largest democracy in the world so vibrant. India has to continue playing its leading role for the betterment of humanity.”