New Delhi: In an apparent message to Pakistan, President Pranab Mukherjee today said "our neighbours" must ensure that their territory is not used by forces inimical to India which rejects any attempt to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
"While we offer our hand willingly in friendship, we cannot stay blind to deliberate acts of provocation and a deteriorating security environment. India is a target of vicious terrorist groups operating from across the borders," the President said in his address to the nation on the eve of 69th Independence Day without taking any countries name.
Asserting that India's policy will remain one of zero tolerance for terrorism, he said "we reject any attempt to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Infiltration into our territory and attempts to create mayhem will be dealt with a strong hand".
The President said except the language of violence and the cult of evil, these terrorists have no religion and adhere to no ideology.
The statement comes against the backdrop of two terror strikes in Gurdaspur in Punjab and Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir where militants infiltrated from Pakistan and killed security personnel and civilians.
While paying homage to the martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives defending India, the President specially commended two villagers of Udhampur area "who boldly detained a hardened terrorist ignoring the risk to their own lives."
The two civilians Rakesh Kumar Sharma and and Bikramjeet Singh captured Mohammed Naved Yukub, a Lashker-e-Taiba terrorist who was fleeing after carrying out an attack on BSF convoy along with his accomplice Mohammed Noman.
Two BSF personnel were killed while Noman was killed in retaliatory fire. Naved tried to escape from the scene and attempted to take Shama and Singh as a hostage. However, the duo outsmarted him and captured him.
He also talked about binding of nations with peace, friendship and cooperation and called for strengthening of connectivity, expand institutional capacity and enhance mutual trust to further regional cooperation.
"As we make progress in advancing our interests globally, India is also engaged in pro-actively promoting goodwill and prosperity in our immediate neighbourhood," Mukherjee said.
He noted it was heartening that the long pending land boundary issue with Bangladesh has been finally resolved.