New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the government is committed to forging a "mutually respectful relationship" with Pakistan while asserting that "firm and effective" steps will be taken to deal with any situation arising out of cross-border terrorism.
In his customary address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament outlining the government's agenda in the coming financial year, he said the government is fully committed to firmly dealing with all challenges concerning the security of the country.
"Terrorism is a global threat and strong counter measures are necessary worldwide to eradicate it completely," Mukherjee said, congratulating the security forces for successfully foiling the recent terror attack at the Pathankot air base.
He said, "Firm and effective steps will be taken to deal with any situation arising out of cross-border terrorism." Turning to Pakistan, the President said the government is committed to forging a "mutually respectful relationship" with Pakistan and in creating an environment of cooperation in combating cross-border terrorism.
"My government believes in a secure and prosperous future for our neighbourhood", he said, adding that "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: The world is one family" is the principle to which the government is committed. "Its expression is most resonant in the steps we have taken in reaching out to our neighbours," he said at the outset.
On ties with neighbouring countries, the President said that last year, the government adopted the historic Land Boundary Agreement with Bangaladesh, leading to the peaceful exchange of disputed territories between the two countries.
The signing of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal will provide seamless connectivity and further strengthen ties, Mukherjee said.
"We have been a friend in need to Nepal during the devastating earthquake of April 2015. We opened our skies, became a key transit hub and essential enabler so that assistance from other countries could reach Nepal in the hour of need," he recalled.
On Afghanistan, he said India remained committed in providing support to the people of Afghanistan in realising their dream of building a stable, inclusive and democratic nation.
"Dedication of the Afghanistan Parliament to its people by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi was our contribution to Afghanistan's pursuit of peace and prosperity," the President said....