- President Kovind said Mahatma Gandhi's ideals remain relevant today
- In his address, he stressed on upholding constitutional ideals
- He also underscored the importance of strong internal security
President Ram Nath Kovind, in his address to the nation on the eve of the 71st Republic Day, stressed on upholding constitutional ideals, saying it is the responsibility of the people of the country to adhere to the tenets of democracy enshrined in the Constitution. President Kovind also said the youth of the country, while fighting for a cause, must never forget "the gift of Ahimsa" given by Mahatma Gandhi to humanity.
"Our Constitution gave us rights as citizens of a free democratic nation, but also placed on us the responsibility to always adhere to the central tenets of our democracy - justice, liberty, equality and fraternity," he said in his address.
"It becomes easier for us to follow these constitutional ideals, if we keep in mind the life and values of the Father of our Nation. By doing so, we will be adding a meaningful dimension to our celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi ji," he added.
President Kovind said Mahatma Gandhi's ideals remain relevant in the country, and his message of truth and nonviolence must be introspected. He also said that Mahatma Gandhi's "talisman" can be applied by the government and opposition to the functioning of the democracy.
"Government and opposition both have important roles to play. While giving expression to their political ideas, both must move forward in tandem to ensure that development of the country and welfare of its people are promoted consistently," he said.
President Kovind underscored the importance of strong internal security for the country's development.
"I have nothing but unreserved praise for our armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces. Their sacrifices to preserve the integrity and unity of our country present a saga of unparalleled courage and discipline," he said.
He also praised farmers, doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, industrial work force and entrepreneurs for "contributing in many other spheres of activity".
Space agency ISRO, which is planning to send a manned mission to space, found special mention the President's address. "India is proud of the achievements of ISRO," he said.