New Delhi, Feb 8: India is one of the oldest victims of terrorism and the international community must assert itself to tackle the scourge, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.
"We have in recent days witnessed the horrific killings of innocent hostages in Syria, the attack on the media in Paris and the tragic killing of school children and their teachers in Peshawar," he said addressing ambassadors and high commissioners who head India's missions abroad.
"Terrorism is today an industry of evil. It is not just a threat to peace and security but an attack on humanity as a whole and civilisation as we understand," he said.
The president said India was one of the oldest victims of terrorism. "There is no good terrorism or bad terrorism. Terrorism respects no religion, ideology or nation."
"It (terrorism) is no longer a debating issue. The international community must assert itself and tackle the problem by taking concerted, coordinated and determined action. This great menace and challenge to human values should be faced firmly and squarely through international cooperation," he said.
Mukherjee said India demonstrated dynamism and bold leadership by inviting leaders of the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to attend the swearing-in of the new government in May last year.
"That initiative must be followed through to its logical conclusion through incisive diplomacy even as we remain firm in protecting our security and putting in place impregnable security mechanisms."
The president said the one adage which never goes stale in international politics was "You can choose your friend but not your neighbour".
"A strong message was conveyed to our neighbours that the region must decide whether to live in perpetual tension or understanding. Our initiatives in the neighbourhood must be followed up with concrete steps to consolidate and make permanent the advances we make in our relations," he said.
Mukherjee also said US President Barack Obama's visit to India as the chief guest for the Republic Day was of substantive importance and not just symbolic.