President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday issued a veiled warning to China on the eve of India's 74th Independence Day that while India believes in peace, it is also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt at aggression.
Also, in this context, without naming China, he said "some in our neighbourhood" recently tried to carry out their "misadventure of expansion". He underscored that the world community instead needs to fight together against the greatest challenge -- Covid-19 -- before humanity.
In a pointed reference to the bravehearts who laid down their lives in the violent faceoff in Galwan Valley, the President asserted: Their bravery has shown that if anyone tries to create disturbance, an appropriate answer will be given.
He added, "The entire nation pays tribute to the martyrs of Galwan Valley. Every Indian has a feeling of gratitude towards each of their family members."
The other key issue President Kovind touched upon was that of Ram Mandir. Referring to the recent 'Bhumi Pujan' in Ayodhya on August 5, the President expressed satisfaction that the decades-long dispute had been resolved amicably through judicial process.
He said, "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."
The President also praised the role of the Corona warriors, saying an "invisible virus has changed our lives".
"The nation is indebted to the doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of our fight against Covid-19. Unfortunately, many of them have lost their lives battling the pandemic. They are our national heroes," said Kovind.
He also praised the government's role in providing free ration to crores of people during the pandemic, besides lauding the initiative to bring back scores of Indians stuck on foreign shores.
He also praised the government's role in helping thousands of migrants reach their respective hometowns.
"By introducing the '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," said the President.
The President began his speech by remembering Mahatma Gandhi. "We are fortunate that Mahatma Gandhi became the guiding light of our freedom movement. His quest for equality and justice is the mantra for our Republic. I am glad to see that the younger generations have re-discovered Gandhiji," he said.