"Aware and engaged youth are a force that can transform India and enable it to get rid of poverty, disease, underdevelopment and ignorance. For that, we must follow what Mahatma Gandhi said... We must become the change we want to see," the prime minister said in his address at the National Cadet Corps (NCC) rally here.
He said the world was getting increasingly interconnected and was changing rapidly.
"It is only natural, therefore, that there is tremendous yearning amongst our youth to transform our society for the better. The youth today are not only aware and ready to articulate their views, but are also willing and prepared to participate in shaping our polity and society in a way that responds to their aspirations. This is an extremely positive development," the prime minister said.
Describing his participation in the rally as "an annual rite of renewal" for him for the past 10 years, the prime minister said the "energy, vitality, enthusiasm" of the youth augur well for the future of the nation.
"It renews my faith in our country, in the values we stand for, in the youth I see before me getting ready to assume tomorrow's responsibilities and, therefore, in the future of our country."
Urging all students and youth to join the NCC and experience a life of camaraderie, adventure and discipline, Manmohan Singh said there is no better training ground for the responsibilities that await the youth in the years to come.
"The NCC embodies fully the values important for our nation's unity," he said.
He said the discipline, vigour and energy of the cadets had inspired all those who witnessed them during the Republic Day parade.
"They embody leadership, duty, courage and service. I am confident that with the destiny of our nation in the hands of youth such as our NCC cadets, the future of our country is bright," he said.
PM was addressing the National Cadet Corps (NCC) rally in New Delhi.
The prime minister said the NCC makes the nation proud and has made immense contributions towards nation-building and promoting social harmony.
"It has brought together people from diverse backgrounds, religions, cultures and languages and inculcated in them the common values of humanism, patriotism and selfless service. It thus truly symbolises the philosophy of unity in diversity, which forms the foundation of our nationhood, he said.
Recalling the "service and sacrifice" by cadets during natural disasters, he said the NCC members also contributed to awareness drives on issues like AIDS, female foeticide and environment protection.
He complimented the NCC Boy Cadets for scaling Mount Everest, the world's highest peak in their first-ever expedition.
"It is a tribute to their teamwork, planning, stamina and skill. The nation is proud of their achievements," he said.
Referring to young cadets from many friendly countries who were in the rally as part of a youth exchange programme, he said they would forge life-long friendships and carry back fond memories of their stay in the country.