New Delhi, Jan 26: President Pratibha Patil on the eve of Republic Day appealed for a united approach to fight the menace of terrorism. Addressing the nation on the eve of the 60th Republic Day, Patil conveyed her special greetings to the Armed Forces and Paramilitary forces for guarding the nation"s frontiers on land, sea and air.
Commenting on Pakistan"s rejection of any hand in the Mumbai terror attack, Patil said, such arguments cannot be accepted, and asked the international community to take 'decisive" action to fight terrorism. She also paid homage to those who had laid down their lives for the country, and said: “We owe a deep gratitude to them who paid their lives for the safety and security of the nation."
Referring to measures being taken to secure the nation against terrorist and fundamentalist elements, Patil said the government has put in place a new agency to deal with such threats, and has also brought in legislative changes.
She asked the nation to promote a responsible behaviour, and said: “I call on fellow citizens and the media to be a part of this security network. This entails responsible behaviour in which we are aware of our surroundings, and do not inadvertently create an atmosphere of fear or insecurity."
The elections that were held after the Mumbai attack to the legislative assemblies in some states, including Jammu and Kashmir, had seen a large voter turnout, thereby reaffirming the faith of the people in a democratic polity, Patil said.
Patil appealed to the citizens to vow to fight divisive agendas and work for an India in which our first identity is Indian and, only thereafter, our other descriptions follow. “We may hail from one region but belong to a different caste or religion or speak a different language, but that cannot dilute our Indian identity," she said.
Asking citizens and the media to be a part of this security network, she said there was need to be “aware of our surroundings, and do not inadvertently create an atmosphere of fear or insecurity". Patil also spoke about the global economic slow down, and profiled the need for stronger corporate governance.
“There must be clear principles of accountability when such losses take place," she added.
On rural development, she said it should be made an effective vehicle for spreading the benefits of balanced growth. She appealed to youth to represent the hopes and aspiration for growth and prosperity.“The youth represent the hope for the future and are an invaluable asset to the nation. I call on our youth to take advantage of opportunities that are available to them.
In addition to self- development, they must pledge to abjure violence and work for the welfare of humanity," She said. Being the first woman President of India, Patil asked citizens of India to also change the mind set towards woman.
“A woman has a right to live with dignity and a right to be an equal citizen of the country. I have set up a Committee of Governors, to suggest steps to move forward rapidly on the agenda of gender equality," she said.
Emphasising that technology should be used to counter the terrorist threat to the nation, she said: “Technology plays a very important role in the progress of mankind. It should be used to counter terrorist threats to the nation. We should be far ahead of the terrorists who are increasingly using sophisticated technology to carry out their violent agenda."
Seeking greater international cooperation for evolving a more credible and viable financial structure, Patil said that instances of financial imprudence, which can put global welfare in jeopardy, could not be allowed to happen again.
She concluded her address with an appeal to all citizens to bring forth their very best to serve the nation and quoted a line from a known Hindi poet, to describe her wish for the nation; “As our tri-colour flutters high in the sky tomorrow, let each one of us take a pledge to bring glory to India and take our country to its destination of becoming a great nation that stands for human values.