I wish to spend a few minutes on India's foreign policy. You know that the foundations of our foreign policy were laid during our freedom struggle by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. About Gandhiji it was always said that he was born in India, but his political birth took place in Africa. That is why we have had strong emotional relations with the nations of black Africa. When our independence came 50 years ago it was said that the winds of change would also sweep Africa and the rest of Asia. And indeed, soon, one by one the countries of Africa and Asia threw off the yoke of colonialism. These new independent nations came together to create an organisation called NAM. Our foreign policy was started by Jawaharlal Nehru. He said an independent nation's foreign policy should always be independent. That is why India has never been part of any bloc. When the world has been divided into various blocs India made sure that it did not get involved in bloc politics. We are proud of our non-aligned foreign policy.
You may remember that I refused to sign the CTBT, and even today we are firm on this issue. We will not sign the CTBT under pressure and until the nuclear weapon states destroy their stockpiles. I can proudly say that I have given a new direction to our foreign policy. This policy has been referred to by the media and intellectuals as the Gujral doctrine. Under the doctrine we wish to improve relations with our neighbours, and we are progressing towards this. But we have to keep one thing in mind, that while relations can be improved we will not compromise on our security. Our armed forces have proved many a time that they can defend the nation if faced by an outside threat. Our history shows that we have never lost in wars because our people were not brave. Whenever we lost it was because we did not have the state of the art weapons. If our opponent had canons we fought with swords, and this was a mismatch. Our soldiers could only die displaying the highest bravery, our women folk could commit jauhar. I give my promise, we will never allow this to happen again. I promise our Navy, Air Force and Army that they will not remain technologically backward, and they can face the enemy eye to eye. Our scientists and technologists are today able to produce weapons which we do not have to buy from abroad. The cold war has ended. Inimical forces are becoming friendly today. Therefore our foreign policy lays stress on regional cooperation with countries in South Asia.
The region can stand the world if we move forward with the spirit of sharing. You have witnessed development of new friendly relations with Bangladesh. Our relations with Srilanka have also improved. Our traditional relationship with Nepal has been further rejuvenated. New levels of friendship have been established with the States of Bhutan and Maldives; an environment of friendliness is emerging. We have raised the concept of regional cooperation. Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Indian States neighbouring Assam can help each other in progress and this area which was lagging behind in development since partition can move forward.
I am happy to announce that recently Nagaland has started its march towards peace. Ceasefire has been agreed after 30 years of militancy and I am hopeful that in the days to come peace would be restored in the entire North-eastern region. But one thing should be clear to all of us that there would be no compromise with terrorism. People using arms will be strictly dealt with. The country is eager to welcome back the misguided youths .... They are our brethren and children and if they give up arms and ask for their right, we will ensure them.
Today, I would like to refer to Pakistan also. Recently, Indo-Pak relationship have improved a bit. It is a matter of satisfaction to a level. We have already had Secretary-level talks and efforts are on to have a second round next month. Today after years of confrontation both sides have taken initiatives towards the establishment of peace. Indo-Pak friendship would benefit the two countries. It will in fact benefit the entire South-East region and would enable the Seven Nations in the region to open a front against poverty and backwardness. I want to state on behalf of India that we want to establish good friendly relations with the countries of the region including Pakistan. But we must accept that if friendly relations can be established only whenwe do not interfere in the internal affairs of each other and territorial sovereignty of each country is honoured.Today,India has the capability to protect its national independence,unity and integrity and there would be no compromise on secular unity and integrity. We want friendship while protecting our territorial integrity. It is a matter of happiness that the situation has changed in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. We have succeeded in uprooting terrorism there. Today the democratically elected Government is in operation. I take satisfaction on stating that after five to seven years of terrorism, Kashmir has come out of the dark. The success was achieved only after the people of the State including women, youth from both Hindus and Muslims set up a front against terrorism. I, therefore request my neighbouring countries to take a pledge not to interfere in the internal affairs of each other and to honour each others' borders. I want to reiterate that India is willing to offer a number of concessions to the neighbouring countries for their economic prosperity but there can be no compromise on the issues of sovereignty, terrorism and secular unity. Our foreign policy has led to further improvement of relationship with neighbouring countries. Our relationship with the countries of Asia and Africa, Russia, Japan and China and Korea have improved. The relationship with China is also improving. You have witnessed emergence of better relationship with the European powers. European powers are today making heavy investments in our country. Our relations with the Americans are old and friendly. Our economic ties with America have been strengthened and we intend to further improve them.
I want to give a message to the overseas Indians- they are living far away from the motherland and are proud of the achievements of India and have great love for their motherland. My Government would extend fresh concessions to the Non Resident Indians. These would include concessions in visa, acquiring of property and children education so as to further strengthen the emotional ties. Before I conclude, I once again congratulate my countrymen.
Before concluding, and I am saying this to those friends who may not have understood me in the language in which I was talking, I only want to say that I greet you all on this very happy occasion when India is finishing half a century of its Republic and entering into a new era, an era of progress, an era of peace, an era of leadership in which it wants to be a foremost country in economic development, in industrial development, agricultural development. It also wants to be an example in the world over in social justice. It wants to uplift all those sections of society which have not been given their fair deal. We shall give them a fair deal.
And may I also repeat what I have said at length in Hindi that our war against corruption is wholehearted, honest and candid and for this we have to build a massive movement in which we all can join so that corruption, both in politics, politicians and also in public life, ends. And at the same time, this movement must focus on small corruption, in police station, in villages, in government offices where we must start a new type of Satyagrah, that Satyagraha - non-cooperation with the ones who are corrupt; refusing to give into corruption. It needs courage. Sometimes, it is difficult but it is daring. Gandhiji's main heritage is this: That non cooperation can achieve wonders. Let us achieve it once again.
And also on this occasion, once again, I want to express my feelings of gratitude to the freedom fighters and also on behalf of the nation I want to thank them and also appreciate their sacrifices. I want to tell them with a sense of gratitude that the United Front Government has decided that whatever small, meagre - what is called pension is given to them, it is being doubled from today. And also it is being linked with the DA Index so that if the prices go up, so shall their pension. I hope, and I pray that the veteran freedom fighters will accept the nation's small gift on this happy day.
Last year, standing from here, my worthy colleague Shri Deve Gowdaji had made a promise about Uttarakhand. I want to restate that promise. We will take the needed steps in this direction very soon.
And in the end, once again, our attention to national unity, to secularism, to our shared civilisation, to our common civilisation, "Sanjhi Sanskriti" "Mustaqa Ganga Jamuni
We, the 96 crore Indians, professing different languages, living in different parts of India, having different historical division, we are one. We shall remain one.
We are all moving together and are now standing on the threshold of greatness. India is about to enter this new edifice of greatness which is waiting for us. It is waiting for our future, younger generation.
So today, let us come together and pledge to build a nation which will be united inspite of the diversities, different languages, are there but it will remain united. we will follow our faith, our own religions but will remain united. We will end class differences. We will build a nation where there will be no lower class or upper class, a nation where women will be honoured. And they will get their due.
We shall make a country, a country of equals; a country which is socially just; a country where woman gets her status, where the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and minorities occupy a place of primacy.
So the same song comes to my mind which we sang yesterday night. "Sare Jahan se Achha, Hindustan Hamara". And before concluding this speech, all of you would join me with full strength to say "Jai Hind".