PRESIDENT Ram Nath Kovind on Monday asserted that the country’s Armed Forces are“adequately mobilized” in a “well-coordinated” move to thwart any attempt to undermine national security, and recalled how its valiant soldiers foiled the“expansionist” plans by China in Ladakh last year.

“Our national interest will be protected at all costs,” the President declared in his address to the nation on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day during which he also said every Indian saluted the farmers and sought to allay their fears over the three contentious farm laws.

“The path of reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions but the Government is singularly devoted to the farmers’ welfare,” he said, as the protests by the farmer unions demanding the repeal of the three laws continue at border points in Delhi.

On the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19, the President said an effective response to the pandemic would not have been possible without the Constitutional value of ‘Fraternity’ among the people of the country. He also took pride in the fact that India was called as “pharmacy of the world” for supplying medicines to several countries to alleviate the sufferings across the globe.

He felt that after about a year of this“unforeseen ordeal”, India today stands “not despondent but confident.”

Also, he said the slowdown has turned out to be transitory as the economy has regained its dynamism.

Kovind urged people to utilize the “lifeline” provided by the COVID-19 vaccine and get inoculated as per guidelines.“Your health opens the way for your advancement.” Paying tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives at Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh last June during clashes with the Chinese troops, the President said the past year “was a time of adversity, and it came from many fronts.”

“We faced an expansionist move on our borders, but our valiant soldiers foiled it. To achieve this objective, 20 of them had to lay down their lives.”

Kovind said the nation shall remain grateful to those brave soldiers.

“Though we reiterate our commitment to peace, our defense forces – Army, Air Force, and Navy – are adequately mobilized in a well-coordinated move to thwart any attempt to undermine our security.

Our national interest will be protected at all costs. We have also ensured a widespread understanding in the international community of India’s firm and principled stand,” the President said.

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