Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that sometimes war is inevitable, because of circumstances and time. He was speaking to a packed crowd in Lucknow during Dussehra celebrations.
"Sometimes because of constraints of time and circumstances, war sometimes becomes necessary," he said in Hindi. "But our path is from yuddh (war) to Buddh (peace)."
He urged all Indians to unite against terrorism, alluding to Jataayu from the epic Ramayana as the world's first fighter against terrorism. "We can't all be Lord Ram, but we can be Jataayu and fight against terrorism," he said.
He also launched a veiled attack on Pakistan, saying those who help and provide shelter to terrorists cannot be spared. Interestingly, he made no reference to the recent surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC).
Even as he spoke about social evils, it was terrorism that was the centrepoint of his 20-minute speech. He called terror "the worst enemy of humanity" and called upon the world community to speak in one voice against the menace to put an end to it.
"Terrorism does not have any boundaries," he said in Hindi. "It is bound to destroy all...a need has arisen to root out those who spread terrorism."
In an obvious reference to Pakistan, even though he did not name them, he said, "Those who help terrorists and provide shelter to them can no longer be spared."
"Terrorism is against humanity. The entire world is being destroyed...if you think that we are insulated against terrorism, then we are wrong. It is a virus affecting our societies. All forces across the world have to talk in one voice and end it. It will not be possible to save humanity without eradicating terrorism," the Prime Minister said.
"The forces of humanism should unite globally to end the menace."
He also likened Ravan to terrorism and other evils in society, urging Indians to vanquish these "Ravans" like inequality, caste oppression, etc.
Modi became the first Prime Minister to attend a Ramlila event outside Delhi and his participation at the Aishbagh celebrations assumes significance in the context of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh early next year, reported PTI.
The theme of this year's Dussehra here was 'destruction of terrorism'. In the run up to the event today, there have been many references to the surgical strikes by characters enacting Ramlila.
In significant gestures, Modi was presented a Sudarshan Chakra, bow and arrow and a mace at the event, symbolising valour.
At the Delhi event at Ramlila Maidan, as usual, President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were present.
Watch his speech below:
(with PTI inputs)
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