"We have learnt the difficult way that unless there is peace at our borders, development and harmony cannot be achieved," he said while accepting an honorary degree from prestigious Istanbul University here yesterday, soon after arriving from Belgium. The University honoured Mukherjee by conferring the 'Doctorate, Honoris Causa, in Political Science' for his achievements political life and contributions to governance and democracy in India.
"India and Turkey live in extremely difficult geographies, and both of us are aware of the grave challenges to our security, internal as well as external. However, I am sure you would agree that India's commitment to peace is unfailing. We continue to sustain moderation, pluralism and tolerance in our society," Mukherjee said.
Talking about commonality in India and Turkey's political structures, he said, "The success of our (India and Turkey) democratic institutions lies in responding to the challenges of our time and the hopes and aspirations of our people. They have to usher in the change and achieve the progress that we desire in our two countries."
Before leaving for the two-nation trip, Mukherjee had rejected Pakistan's contention that "non-state actors" were behind terror attacks in India, saying such elements were not coming from heaven but from territory under its control. "...non-state actors, that is the phrase they used, then I responded by saying that non-state actors are not coming from heaven. Non-state actors are coming from territory under your (Pakistan's) control," he had told Euronews.
Mukherjee, who is on a three-day visit to Turkey, also emphasised on the absence of good governance as the root cause of many of the serious deficiencies in societies. He identified good governance to be the essential, the most basic philosophy with the rule of law and justice being the most important tenets of good governance.
Mukherjee said, "It (absence of good governance) robs the citizenry of their security, and of their social and economic rights, ironically established for their welfare and collective good. Good governance is critically dependent on the existence of some fundamental pre-requisites."