We will extend hand of friendship, but can’t ignore provocation: President

New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) India cannot be blind to deliberate acts of provocation and a deteriorating security environment, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday.

In his message to the nation on the eve of India’s 69th Independence Day, the president said “while we offer our hand willingly in friendship, we cannot ignore such threats”.

“India is a target of vicious terrorist groups operating from across the borders. Except the language of violence and the cult of evil, these terrorists have no religion and adhere to no ideology. Our neighbours must ensure that their territory is not used by forces inimical to India,” the president said.

His comments come in the light of two terror strikes in Gurdaspur and Udhampur recently. In both these incidents, terrorists from “across the border” have been involved.

Mukherjee reminded that India’s policy on terror remains one of “zero tolerance” and said that any attempt to “create mayhem will be dealt with a strong hand”.

“We reject any attempt to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Infiltration into our territory and attempts to create mayhem will be dealt with a strong hand,” he said.

The president also offered his homage to those security personnel who sacrificed their lives in defence of the nation.

“I salute the courage and heroism of our security forces who are maintaining an eternal vigil to safeguard the territorial integrity of our country and the safety of our people. I also specially commend the brave civilians who boldly detained a hardened terrorist ignoring the risk to their own lives,” he said.

Peace, friendship and cooperation bind nations and peoples together, the president said, adding that “we must enhance mutual trust to further regional cooperation”.

“As we make progress in advancing our interests globally, India is also engaged in pro-actively promoting goodwill and prosperity in our immediate neighbourhood. It is heartening that the long pending land boundary issue with Bangladesh has been finally resolved,” he added.

The president greeted Indians all around the world on the occasion. “I convey my special greetings to members of our armed forces, paramilitary forces and internal security forces,” he said.

He also congratulated Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2014 Kailash Satyarthi and sportspersons who have participated and won laurels in various tournaments in India and abroad.

“My congratulations to Shri Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2014, who has done the country proud,” he said.

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