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26.01.2009 Asia

India marks 60th Republic Day

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A flag raising ceremony was held by the India High Commission in Ghana on Monday to mark their country's 60th Republic Day, which falls on January 26.

Some selected school children sang solidarity songs, while winners of an educational essay competition on the topic "The benefits of Education to the society," were awarded with Trophies, certificates, sets of books and other gifts.

Mr. Kobina Kwegyir-Aggrey received a trophy, a certificate, a set of books and other gifts for emerging the winner, while Ms Jemima Owusuaa Yeboah and Mr Buule Elvis Nournomu received certificates, books and other prices each, for emerging second and third winners respectively.

In a message read by Mrs. Ruchi Ghanashyam, India High Commissioner to Ghana, on behalf of Mrs. Pratibhi Devi Singh Patil, President of India, she said the India had come far in terms of its democratic rule, despite the numerous challenges and was looking forward into the future with confidence and hope for better leadership and economic growth.

Mrs Patil saluted the Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces of India, who had protected the country for the past six decades.

She also paid homage to those who laid down their lives for the safety and security of the nation.

She said for the nation to be fully united the situation of regional, sectarian or caste considerations must give way to oneness in order for India to find its true identity.

Mrs. Patil said India now was more united and had a stronger voice than ever before and that no amount of terrorism could divide a people who had purposed to fight against such acts.

She called on the international community to take a decisive and united action against terrorism, saying their unpredicted and constant attacks posed threats to the stability of the world.

"No country can afford to take an ambivalent attitude in this fight. Arguments that independent actors are perpetuating terrorism are self-defeating and cannot be accepted. Countries must own up their responsibilities as must the international community in defeating terrorism," she said.

The President said India had remained a democratic republic for the past six decades, guided by the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity and had achieved various successes over the years.

She said "we can look back at our achievements with justifiable pride and focus on our short comings with a spirit of resolve. It is the manner in which we address the challenges we face that will determine the destiny towards which the nation is steered".

Mrs. Patil said India had had its fair share not only in the financial and security crises over the years, but also in natural disaster, volatility in oil and food prices, terrorism and violence as well as the effects of the global economic slowdown.

She said her government had put in place a new agency to deal with terrorist threats and had also brought in legislative changes.

She called for a determined, coordinated and concerted approach by all agencies to tackle terrorism and other forms of violence in the country.

On the economic front, Mrs. Patil urged the private business community to do business based on transparency, ethical principles and uniformity, saying companies that had over-extended or functioned in an unethical manner had caused losses to shareholders.

The President assured that despite the impact of the global environment, India's economy had the fundamental strength and resilience to remain on course for economic growth.

She said her government had already announced monetary and fiscal stimulus packages to increase liquidity in the market and encourage investments.

"We have a very large domestic market and by increasing the purchasing power capacity of all sections of society, our economic development could be stimulated.

The President pointed out that government was also focusing on agriculture as an effective vehicle for spreading the benefits of balanced growth, adding that improvement of agriculture through better and scientific techniques would contribute to food security of the country.

"It would also create internal economic demand through enhanced incomes of the farmers and act as a catalyst for stronger and sustainable growth”.

She called on the youth to take advantage of the numerous opportunities including education and quality health care being provided, to enhance both their skills and to better their standards of living.

She mentioned that the short comings of Indian women were also being addressed trough the introduction of gender budgeting, which was expected to be adopted by all Ministries, Departments and State Governments, for promoting gender equality.

She said the initiative along with other efforts to make women effective partners in national life, should converge into a national mission for the empowerment of women.

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