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Attacks on weaker sections against Indian ethos: Pranab

At a time when India and Pakistan are engaged in a ‘war of words’, President Pranab Mukherjee asserted that there would no stepping back on New Delhi’s “neighbourhood first policy”.
In his televised address to the nation, on the eve of the sixty-ninth anniversary of Independence, Mr. Mukherjee also spoke about the attacks on “weaker sections which is against Indian ethos’’, and said that they should be dealt with firmly.
While maintaining that during his four years in office he had seen with some disquiet forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head, he expressed the confidence that the collective wisdom of Indian society and polity would ensure such forces remain marginalised.
Mr. Mukherjee said close bonds of history, culture, civilisation and geography provide the people of South Asia with an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a common destiny and to march together towards prosperity.
“This opportunity must be seized without delay. India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful co-existence and harnessing technology and resources for its economic development.”
Pointing out that the world had witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalisation of people on the basis of religion, Mr. Mukherjee said these forces apart from killing innocent people also threatened to disturb geopolitics. He said these forces now posed a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world would have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice, he asserted.
Mr. Mukherjee, who completes his tenure in July next year, noted that he has seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. “Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the Opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation. In the just-concluded session of Parliament, the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST amid non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity”.
On economic growth, he said, India will grow, only when all of India grows, the excluded ones are included in the development process and the hurt and the alienated brought back into the mainstream.

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