In a veiled message to China amid the border standoff in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday asserted that while India believes in peace, it is also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression as he said "some in our neighbourhood" tried to carry out "misadventure of expansion".
Without naming China, Kovind said, "While the world community needs to fight together against the greatest challenge (Covid-19) before humanity, some in our neighbourhood tried to carry out their misadventure of expansion."
In his address to the nation on the eve of the 74th Independence Day, Kovind saluted the brave soldiers who laid down their lives defending the country's borders.
"Those worthy sons of 'Bharat Mata' lived and died for national pride. The entire nation salutes the martyrs of Galwan Valley. Every Indian feels grateful to their family members," he said. Twenty personnel of the Indian army were killed during clashes with China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Galwan Valley on June 15.
"Their bravery in combat has demonstrated that while we believe in peace, we are also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression. We are proud of the members of our Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and police personnel who protect the borders, and ensure our internal security," he said.
Kovind also spoke about the 'Aatmanirbhar' initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, allaying fears of foreign investors saying India's self-reliance means being self-sufficient without alienating or creating distance from the world, with which it would continue to engage.
Touching upon the coronavirus pandemic, Kovind said the nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been at the forefront of the fight against the disease that has disrupted all global activities and taken a huge toll.
He also applauded the central government's efforts, saying it is reassuring to see that it anticipated the challenge and responded effectively well in time. "For a country so vast and diverse with high population density, meeting this challenge requires super-human efforts," he said.
Kovind also said the construction of the temple at Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya "was indeed a moment of pride for all". Modi had performed the 'Bhoomi Pujan' for the Ram temple on August 5.
"People of the country maintained restraint and patience for a long time and reposed unflinching trust in the judicial system. The issue of Ram Janmabhoomi was resolved through judicial process," he said, adding that all concerned parties and the people respectfully accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court and displayed before the world the Indian ethos of peace, non-violence, love and harmony.