Indian must keep faith in its liberal values: Dr Manmohan Singh

New Delhi [India], Nov 19 (ANI): Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that India must keep faith in its liberal values enshrined in its Constitution. "For India which is a successful and vibrant democracy, there is an even greater responsibility to keep faith in liberal values enshrined in its Constitution and more importantly, ingrained in the sensibilities of its people," Dr Singh said. "We must not fall prey to the argument that India's development requires a restriction of the freedoms of its people and a concept of nationhood which demands a contrived unity rather than embrace the reality of India's diversity," he added. He was speaking after receiving the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2017 from former Chief Justice of India Justice Tirath Singh Thakur at Jawahar Bhawan here. He said that the defining characteristic of the present age is globalization propelled by advances in information and communication technologies, which has led to the emergence of a set of challenges which are cross-national in character. He noted that tackling these challenges demand global and collaborative responses. Recalling the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2008, Dr Singh said that the situation overturned long-held assumptions about capitalism's strengths and also raised questions about the capacity of democracies to handle the forces unleashed by the rapid technological change. Addressing the challenges of the present days, Dr Singh said that technology has vastly increased the destructive power of weapons, resulting in more violent conflicts and human suffering. "The paradox of our age is that just when the need for international cooperation and a spirit of internationalism has become urgent and compelling in order to address new and more complex challenges, we are witnessing a retreat into narrow nationalism across the world," the former prime minister said. He pitched for the World Trade Organisation (WHO) to be a more powerful multilateral institution and the upholder of a rule-based order as the regional trading arrangements are not delivering the benefits they were expected to. Talking about Indira Gandhi, Dr Singh said that Indira Gandhi was a fervent nationalist and a true patriot, safeguarding the interests of her beloved country with passionate conviction. "Gandhi's idea of India anchored itself in the pursuit of the larger goals of international peace, development and nurturing the fragile, life-sustaining ecology of our planet Earth," he said, adding that Gandhi pitched for treating nature as nurturer rather than as a force to be conquered and harnessed to satisfy human greed. Dr Singh received the award on the occasion of the 101st birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi in the presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and others. Earlier, former Congress president and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that Indira Gandhi was still remembered for her "indomitable courage" and "fierce commitment" to India. "Indira Gandhi is still remembered for indomitable courage and her fierce commitment to India. Our country is founded on unity, not uniformity, rooted in inclusion, not exclusion, and sustained by harmony, not hate," said Sonia, daughter-in-law of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, while speaking at the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development which was awarded this year to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Remembering her untimely death, Sonia proclaimed that Indira laid down her life in defense of national integration and secularism and said that she gave new hope to the aspirations of the weaker sections of the society. Sonia, also the chairperson of Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, credited Indira for her role in the space programme, Green Revolution and the establishment of India's nuclear capabilities.
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