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Ensure peace, progress will follow: Kalam

January 25, 2004 19:56 IST
Last Updated: January 26, 2004 02:11 IST

Noting the current thaw in Indo-Pak relations, President A P J Abdul Kalam on Sunday night said the country would be grateful to 'successful peacemakers'.

In his address to the nation on the eve of the 55th Republic Day, the President said the country must focus on development and ensure economic benefits speedily reach the rural population. All-round development would ensure that people engage in productive work and keep away from destructive activities.

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With elections round the corner, he asked political parties to make a commitment in their manifestoes for eradication of corruption.

Apparently referring to the peace initiatives with Pakistan, he said, "For continuing our mission of national development and economic growth in our subcontinent, peace is a paramount ingredient. Most nations have realised that low intensity proxy wars, deterrence-based build-ups and real wars are too expensive distractions from the perceived visions of development.

"The development of society weans its people away from destructive activities of alienation, leading to celebration of peace-makers," Kalam said. "India will always be grateful to the successful peace-makers."

Referring to the Lok Sabha elections, Kalam said two points emerged very clearly during his interactions with the youths.

"One is that young have a passion, self-respect and dream to live in a developed India. Second, they want to live in a corruption-free India.

"I am also convinced that we should build a developed India in a time-bound manner to prevent instability in society. Hence, the manifestoes of political parties have to take into accounts these aspirations with identified missions and action plans.

"Every political party must clearly state their vision, action plan and approach to ensure a developed India and how fast they can realise these missions in quality and quantity."

Recalling the embarrassment suffered by parents of a young child in Nagaland who had asked him if India could become a developed country when there is corruption everywhere, the President said his answer was, "We can create any number of laws but none can remove corruption.

"Only three members of society can remove corruption: they are father, mother and the elementary school teacher."

"You (youth) have to commence a silent revolution for removal of corruption by rightly reforming those who go against righteousness in your families. You all must endeavour to make the home you live, beautiful and righteous. You definitely have the power on your parents to do so with love and affection.

Asking all eligible voters to exercise their franchise 'without fail, fear or favour', he said a large voter turn out 'will be the first step towards realisation of developed India 2020, and the second step would be to become enlightened righteous citizens'.

The President also used the opportunity to call for a review of the syllabus of primary education to prevent overloading of children and ensure their creativity blossoms.

Complete Text of President's Speech

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