India has strengthened its standing in the rapidly evolving global environment through improvement in diplomatic relations, said President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday, while addressing the joint budget session in parliament.
"India has strengthened its standing in the rapidly evolving global environment through improvement in diplomatic relations. India chaired the United Nations Security Council in August 2021 and took several path breaking decisions," he said.
President Kovind mentioned that the Security Council under the presidency of India held a comprehensive debate on the issue of maritime security. "Under the presidency of India, for the first time, the Security Council held a comprehensive debate on the issue of maritime security. The Security Council, for the first time, adopted a Presidential Statement on this subject, and did so unanimously," he said.
Talking about the prevailing situation in the neighbourhood, the President said, "We have witnessed instability and volatility in our neighbouring country, Afghanistan. In spite of the prevailing situation, true to the spirit of humanity, India launched Operation Devi Shakti."
"Despite the challenging conditions, we successfully airlifted a number of our citizens and many Afghan Hindu and Sikh minorities from Kabul. We also brought back two swaroops of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib safely amidst difficult situations. From the humanitarian point of view, India is helping Afghanistan by delivering medical supplies and food-grain," President Kovind said.
Mentioning about the government efforts to bring back stolen artefacts, he said, "It has also been a priority of the government that the priceless heritage of India should be brought back to the country. The idol of Maa Annapurna Devi, which was stolen from India a hundred years ago, has been brought back and installed in the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Many such historical artefacts are being brought back to India from different countries."
President also talked about UNESCO heritage status to Dholavira and Kakatiya Rudreshwar Ramappa temple. "My government considers it a responsibility to preserve, enrich and empower India's ancient heritage. It is a matter of pride that the Harappan site of Dholavira and the 13th century Kakatiya Rudreshwar Ramappa temple in Telangana have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After the Kumbh Mela of Prayagraj, Kolkata's iconic Durga Puja has also been included in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list," he said.
(WIth inputs from IANS)