President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday paid tributes to tributes to India's first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash last month and said he was "one of bravest commanders of the country".
Addressing the nation on the eve of 73rd Republic Day, the President said when a brave soldier dies on duty, the entire country feels sad.
"When a brave soldier dies on duty, the entire country feels sad. Last month, in an unfortunate accident, we lost one of the bravest commanders of the country - General Bipin Rawat - his wife and many brave soldiers. The entire country was deeply saddened by the tragic loss," he said.
The President said the country's soldiers and security personnel carry on the legacy of national pride.
Noting that the past year has been "a watershed year" for women empowerment in the armed forces, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said the country's daughters have broken a glass ceiling and a permanent commission has now been allowed for women officers in new areas.
The President said that the talent pipeline for the forces will be strengthened with women coming through Sainik Schools.
"As the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, I am glad to note that it has been a watershed year for women empowerment in the Armed Forces. Our daughters have broken a glass ceiling, and the permanent commission has now been allowed for women officers in new areas. Also, the talent pipeline for the forces will be strengthened with women coming through Sainik Schools and the prestigious National Defence Academy. Consequently, our Armed Forces will benefit from better gender balance," he said.
He said the soldiers guard the borders in the unbearable cold of the Himalayas and in the excruciating heat of the desert, far away from their families.
"It is thanks to the constant vigil of the armed forces securing our borders and the police personnel maintaining internal security within the country that their fellow citizens enjoy a peaceful life," he said.
The President said patriotism strengthens the sense of duty among citizens.
"Whether you are a doctor or a lawyer, a shopkeeper or office-worker, a sanitation employee or a labourer, doing one's duty well and efficiently is the first and foremost contribution you make to the nation," he said. (ANI)