In a veiled dig at China, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said that "some in our neighbourhood tried to carry out their misadventure of expansion" even as the world is fighting COVID-19 and asserted that bravery of Indian soldiers in combat during the clash in Eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley in June demonstrated that while India believes in peace, it is also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression.
In his address on the eve of 74th Independence Day, the President said that the entire nation "salutes the martyrs of Galwan Valley and every Indian feels grateful to their family members".
The President said that the world now realises what country's sages had said long ago - the global community is but one family 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam'.
"However, even while the world community needs to fight together against the greatest challenge before humty, some in our neighbourhood tried to carry out their misadventure of expansion. Our brave soldiers laid down their lives defending our borders," he said.
"Those worthy sons of Bharat Mata lived and died for national pride. The entire nation salutes the martyrs of Galwan Valley. Every Indian feels grateful to their family members. Their bravery in combat has demonstrated that while we believe in peace, we are also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression," he added.
Twenty Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed during clash in Galwan Valley in June amid border tensions created by China in Eastern Ladakh.
India and China have held diplomatic and military talks to review the situation in the India-China border areas and the ongoing disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control (LAC ) in Eastern Ladakh.
India has said it expects that China will sincerely work with it for complete disengagement of troops along LAC in Eastern Ladakh and de-escalation along with the full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
The President said India is proud of the members of armed forces, paramilitary forces and police personnel who protect the borders, and ensure internal security.
He said India reached out to help other countries in their fight against COVID-19 confident of its strengths.
"In responding to calls from countries for supply of medicines, India has once again shown that it stands by the global community in times of distress. We have been at the forefront in evolving regional and global strategies for an effective response to the pandemic," he said.
The President said that the overwhelming support India got at the elections for the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council is a "testimony to the goodwill we enjoy internationally".
Noting that it has been the tradition of India that "we do not just live for ourselves, but work for the well-being of the entire world," he said India's self-reliance means being self-sufficient without alienating or creating distance from the world.
"It implies that India will continue to engage with the world economy while maintaining its identity," he said.
( With inputs from ANI )