Addressing the nation on the eve of the 70th Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said India's pluralism is its greatest strength and the "Indian model" rests on a tripod of diversity, democracy and development.
The President said that the concept of India's development cannot be complete without the spirit of inclusiveness - of access and opportunity for all and of "an expansion and an embrace of those whom we consider our own."
"This country belongs to each of us and to all of us - every group and every community, every region and every identity. It belongs to every citizen and every individual. India's pluralism is its greatest strength and its greatest example to the world. The 'Indian model' rests on a tripod of diversity, democracy and development. We cannot choose one above the other, we must have all three and we will have all three," he said.
President Kovind said that the best indicator of social change in India is gender equity and equal opportunities.
"In my experience, when given the chance, our daughters tend to not just equal but outperform our sons in the classroom. Young women in our country are moving ahead in every field - from academics to the creative arts, from sports to the armed forces. There is no stopping and no hesitation in this process. It is the route to India's future."
He said the country has come a long way and while there should be appreciation of work done by successive generations, "we must appreciate that our voyage is far from complete."
"There are still waters to cover, still gaps to fill and still tears to wipe. We have to recalibrate our yardstick of achievement and success - from quantity to quality, from a literate society to a knowledge society, from a nation that has room for all segments and all communities to a family that invokes, encourages and celebrates the uniqueness and potential in each person - each daughter and each son."
President Kovind said that human experience is built on partnerships and laid stress on the need to address the grievances of the historically disadvantaged sections.
"Partnerships of the government and the people build our nation and partnerships of nations build a better world. In this manner partnerships are the thread knitting together family, nation and world - and leading to the treatment of the World as a family: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam."
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