India’s President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday praised the country’s Covid-19 warriors and also paid tribute to the soldiers who were killed in the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese troops in Ladakh.

In his address to the nation on the eve of the 74th Independence Day, Kovind also spoke about the ‘Aatmanirbhar’ initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and allayed fears of foreign investors saying India’s self-reliance means being self-sufficient without alienating or creating distance from the world, with which it would continue to engage.

Kovind asserted that while India believes in peace it is also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression as he said “some in our neighbourhood” tried to carry out “misadventure of expansion”.

Here are the highlights from President’s speech on the eve of Independence Day:

  • 15 August fills us with excitement of unfurling the tricolour, taking part in celebrations and listening to patriotic songs. Youth of India should feel special pride of being citizens of free nation, Kovind said.
  • Speaking on the Covid-19 pandemic which has grappled the country for more than seven months now, Kovind said the nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of the fight against the disease which has disrupted all activities world over and taken a huge toll.
  • “The nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of our fight against this virus. Unfortunately, many of them have lost their lives battling the pandemic. They are our national heroes,” he said.
  • Celebrations of Independence Day this year will be rather restrained. The world confronts a deadly virus which has disrupted all activities and taken a huge toll. It has altered the world we lived in before pandemic, he said.
  • The president also saluted the brave soldiers who laid down their lives defending the country’s 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,” he said. Twenty personnel of the Indian army were killed during clashes with the Chinese PLA in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15.
  • “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. We are proud of the members of our Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and police personnel who protect the borders, and ensure our internal security.”
  • “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,” added Kovind.
  • The President also said construction of the temple at Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya “was indeed a moment of pride for all”. Prime Minister Modi performed the ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ for the Ram temple on August 5.
  • “People of the country 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,” Kovind added.

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