‘We are in the midst of a fourth world war’: Pranab

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President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday termed the war against terrorism to be a fourth world war, and said it is a world war because it can raise its evil head anywhere in the world.

Mukherjee, who was sworn in as the country's 13th President today, in his first address to the nation said India has been on the frontlines of this war long before many other recognized its vicious depth or poisonous consequences.

"We are in the midst of a fourth world war; the third was the Cold War, but it was very warm in Asia, Africa and Latin America till it ended in the early 1990s. The war against terrorism is the fourth; and it is a world war because it can raise its evil head anywhere in the world," said President Mukherjee.

"I am proud of the valour and conviction and steely determination of our Armed Forces as they have fought this menace on our borders; of our brave police forces as they have met the enemy within; and of our people, who have defeated the terrorist trap by remaining calm in the face of extraordinary provocation," he added.

President Mukherjee said the people of India have been a beacon of maturity through the trauma of whiplash wounds.

"Those who instigate violence and perpetuate hatred need to understand one truth. Few minutes of peace will achieve far more than many years of war. India is content with itself, and driven by the will to sit on the high table of prosperity. It will not be deflected in its mission by noxious practitioners of terror," he added.

Asserting that peace is the first ingredient of prosperity, President Mukherjee said: "History has often been written in the red of blood; but development and progress are the luminous rewards of a peace dividend, not a war trophy. The two halves of the 20th Century tell their own story. Europe, and indeed the world, reinvented itself after the end of the Second World War and the collapse of colonization, leading to the rise of great institutions like the United Nations."

President Mukherjee said India's philosophy is not an abstract in textbooks, and added that it flourishes in the day-to-day life of our people, who value the humane above all else.

"Leaders who ordered great armies into the field, and then understood that war was more barbarism than glory, transformed the world by changing its mindset. Gandhiji taught by example, and gave us the supreme strength of non-violence. India's philosophy is not an abstract in textbooks. It flourishes in the day-to-day life of our people, who value the humane above all else," said President Mukherjee.

"Violence is external to our nature; when, as human beings, we do err, we exorcise our sins with penitence and accountability," he added.

President Mukherjee further said education is the alchemy that can bring India its next golden age

"As Indians, we must of course learn from the past; but we must remain focused on the future. In my view, education is the alchemy that can bring India its next golden age. Our oldest scriptures laid the framework of society around the pillars of knowledge; our challenge is to convert knowledge into a democratic force by taking it into every corner of our country," said President Mukherjee.

"Our motto is unambiguous: All for knowledge, and knowledge for all," he added.

Mukherjee was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia at a special ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament here.

The function was attended by a host of VVIPs, including outgoing President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

A 21-gun salute was accorded to Mukherjee after he was sworn-in as the country's next President.

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