Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Thursday said the diligence and tenacity of India, the world's largest democracy and home to a sixth of humanity, helped it to emerge as a world leader by assuming the presidency of G20 nations.

Leading the Republic Day celebrations at the Central Stadium in the State capital of Kerala, Khan said that instead of merely fighting for its survival, India was guiding the world with its mantra of 'act in unison' in tackling global issues like climate change, terrorism and pandemics.

"As a nation, our diligence and tenacity have paid rich dividends, which are visible through a plethora of accomplishments proclaiming our robustness and philosophy of life and enhancing our prestige in the comity of nations," he said at the event also attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Khan said that as home to almost one-sixth of humanity, India stands tall as a "microcosm of the world," embellished by its immense diversity and at the same time "firmly united by a sense of Indian-ness" that permeates every mind and moment of life.

"It is this perennial and ever-renewing sense of oneness that reflects in the message of 'One Earth, One Family, One Future,' that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proclaimed on assuming the chairmanship of G-20 nations," he said.

He further said it was the spirit of 'Atma Nirbharta' or self-reliance, that has enabled India to confidently tide over the COVID-19 pandemic by ramping up its health infrastructure, producing medicines and vaccines and making them accessible and available to 220 crore people, he said.

It was the spirit of self-reliance and economic reforms of the Union government which helped India emerge as the fifth largest economy in the world and have one of the largest and best armed forces through the induction of the indigenously developed aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, and the Prachanda light combat helicopter for the air force, the Governor said in his speech.

"While boosting our defence capabilities and surging as one of the top 25 exporters of defence equipment, India stands firmly against global terrorism by declaring -- ‘No Money For Terror’," Khan said.

He referred to the strides made by the country in aerospace.

Nava Keralam

Khan lavished praise also on the Kerala government for working towards a 'Nava Keralam' by addressing areas like agriculture, environment, housing, healthcare and education.

He spoke of the achievements of the State in providing housing, encouraging start-ups, recording the lowest multi-dimensional poverty in the country, reaching the third position in terms of employability of the youth as per India Skills Report 2022 as well as the appreciation Kerala received for innovation and social security measures.

Khan referred to the strides made by Kerala in ramping up healthcare infrastructure, promoting establishment of around 1.23 lakh MSMEs and achieving top position in the latest performance grading index in the field of education.

n his address, the Kerala Governor said that according to Mahatma Gandhi, the soul of India lived in its villages and that is where India's future lies in view of the national and State-level initiatives in rural development and agriculture.

It would be through developed and self-reliant villages and plenteous granaries that India would realise the dreams of 'Amrit Kaal' -- the developmental pathway towards the 'Vikasit Bharat' of the year 2047, he said.

Khan ended his address by asking everyone to perform their duties "mindful of the welfare of our fellow beings and with unwavering loyalty towards the nation."