President Mukherjee speaks of national security, combating violence against women in his first Republic Day address
On the eve the 64th Republic Day of the country, President Pranab Mukherjee delivered his maiden Republic Day address to the nation and extended his warm greetings to all the citizens of the country in India and on Friday and underlined the need to safeguard the honour of women, and ensure security of the country, both internal and external.
Referring to the brutal incident of Delhi gangrape and countrywide outrage aftermath, Mukherjee said that it is the time for the nation to reset its moral compass.
"I speak to you when a grave tragedy has shattered complacency. The brutal rape and murder of a young woman, a woman who was symbol of all that new India strives to be, has left our hearts empty and our minds in turmoil," said Mukherjee.
"The sanctity of a woman is a directive principle of that larger edifice called Indian civilization. Mother is our protection from evil and oppression, our symbol of life and prosperity. When we brutalise a woman, we wound the soul of our civilization," he added.
Emphasising on the development and economic growth, the nation has witnessed in the past, Mukherjee said that the country has changed more in last six decades than in six previous centuries.
"In the last six decades there is much that we can be proud of. Our economic growth rate has more than tripled. The literacy rate has increased by over four times. After having attained self-sufficiency, now we are net exporters of food-grain. Significant reduction in the incidence of poverty has been achieved," said Mukherjee.
However, Mukherjee, while motioning the government current economic reform drive, cautioned the nation about the dangers of market-dependent economy.
Referring to the recent incidents of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers, Mukherjee said: "In the recent past, we have seen serious atrocities on the Line of Control on our troops. Neighbours may have disagreements; tension can be a subtext of frontiers. But, sponsorship of terrorism through non-state actors is a matter of deep concern to the entire nation."
"We believe in peace on the border and are always ready to offer a hand in the hope of friendship. But, this hand should not be taken for granted," he added.
The President also emphasised the need to create jobs for the youth, saying the young cannot dream on an empty stomach, they must have jobs capable of serving their own as well as the nation's ambitions.
He expressed hope and promised that the nation will witness development and change more in the next ten years than in the previous sixty.