Thursday, January 26, 2006

INDIA celebrates 57th Republic Day

The military might and the cultural diversity of India were on show as the country on Thursday celebrated the 57th anniversary of the formation of the Indian Republic. The highlight of celebrations was a colourful Republic Day Parade in Delhi with contingents from the armed forces, police, para-military forces and Ex-servicemen marching along on the capital's Rajpath. President A P J Abdul Kalam took the salute. King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia was the chief guest on the occasion.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accompanied by the chiefs of all the defence forces, laid wreath at 'Amar Javan Jyoti' at the India Gate, commemorating all the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country. The main features of the parade included mounted and mechanised columns including equipment from the Defence Research and Development organisation. Also on display were 24 tableau from different states, ministries and industries.

Displayed for the first time in this year's parade was some of the new weaponry developed by the Indian Army including 155 mm Soltom Guns, ANTPQ 37 Radar and Mobile communication Node.Also making debut at this year's parade are the IAF's Prithvi-II missile and the Indra radar. The Navy fielded a sole Tableaux-mounted model of the French Scorpene attack submarine, led by a tri-command marching contingent. Param Vir Chakra winners Havildar Joginder Yadav, Havildar Sanjay Singh, Ashok Chakra winners Lt Col (Retd) Jasram Singh, Col C Pithawala and Naik Subedar Tsering Mutuk drove down the Rajpath on mounted columns as part of the Republic Day Pageant. Adding 'colour' to the parade were about 900 children from various schools of Delhi who showcased the cultural diversity of India through their performances.

Despite elaborate security arrangements in and around the capital there were thousands of people who lined up along the route of the parade to watch the magnificent display of India's military might and cultural diversity. The Republic day of the country was celebrated in the Gulf region and Middle East region. The National Flag was unfurled at the embassies by the Ambassadors. Indian Expatriates in large numbers took part in the celebrations.

On the eve of Republic Day INDIAN President A P J Abdul Kalam called for the political parties to orient themselves towards development politics, saying the people have the right and an urge to live in a developed country, in a address to INDIAN citizen. Emphasising the need for transparent life, he said that accepting motivated gifts extinguishes the human dignity.

Everyone has to practice values of honesty, sincerity and tolerance in day-to-day living and this will eventually elevate our politics of statesmanship, Dr Kalam added.''Our 540 million youth, who are below 25 years of age, should see an imprint of great leaders in every action of Parliament members. They can become their role model to bring a dynamic change in politics and the development mssions,'' he observed. The President's comment is considered significant in view of recent corruption cases involving some MPs who were caught on camera accepting money for raising questions in Parliament. Calling for development oriented politics, the President said that immediately after elections all political parties should converge on developmental poltics with a common mission and work with zeal to uplift the 260 million people living below the poverty line and remove illiteracy and unemployment.

''I would like to visualise a situation in which the political parties perform in the environment of developmental politics in our country, competing with each other, in putting forth their focused developmental vision through their manifesto,'' Kalam said. He asked public administrators to look for the last person to be serviced and provide him/her service with a kind heart. ''Similarly, judiciary and law enforcement agencies should look for the marginalised persons, who cannot even reach you because of the multiple gates and layers betweenthe judiciary and the citizens, Kalam noted. The President said progress of the nation, sustaining the development and increasing the earning capacities of individuals are the critical needs of the country.

He also stressed the need for launching an intensive and extensive movement for cherishing our value system as the nation has to provide leadership to 540 million youth who are the most powerful resource for translating our vision of transforming India into a developed nation well before 2020 in an integrated way.Pointing out that any country is as good as its citizens, Kalam said their ethos, values and character is reflected in the country's make up and determine its progress or stagnation. The need of the hour is the disciplined action by all citizens and the education system has to concentrate on cultivating a sense of eternal values and discipline among citizens, the President added.

Advocating compulsory NCC training for minimum 18 months to all youth during senior secondary school or at graduation level, he said this would ensure ''discipline in politics, business, judiciary, bureaucracy, scientific pursuits, sports and games.''Stating that transparency starts from home, Kalam exhorted children to launch a movement from their home against corruption. They should use the ''tool of love'' to bring back their parents who have deviated from transparency and urged parents to abide by the suggestions of children.

Citing his personal experience on how his father rebuked him for accepting a gift on his behalf, Kalam asked youth not to be carried away by motivated gifts at the expense of one's personality and dignity. Mother play a crucial role in giving principles of truth and teachers imbibing vision to students, the President added. ''All of us have to practice the values of honesty, sincerity and tolerance in our day-to-day living. This will elevate our politics of statesmanship. We have to collectively inculcate a positive attitude to what we can do for our country so that we will be able to benefit ourselves.'' Enumerating the developments made in the interlinking of rivers, providing urban amenities in rural areas and spread of education through newly created virtual universities, Kalam said that development and technology has started reaching the rural areas.

However, to strengthen the process, scientists, technologists and healthcare specialists will have to play a crucial role, he said. The President also stressed the need to give the highest priority to HIV/AIDS treatment and developing AIDS vaccines before 2007.

Healthcare personnel should work together coherently towards the mission of providing good health to all citizens and make the country near disease-free, he said.Kalam urged scientists and technologists to immediately undertake national mission for increasing Solar Photo Voltaic Cell efficiency using nano-technology, research in proteomics to identify disease causing mechanism and develop new methods of treatments. He also asked them to improve earthquake and rain forecast and develop products in healthcare, electronics and materials to meet the national requirements using convergence of nano, bio and info technologies.

Special input from INDIAN government’s news agency

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