Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today said some forces were dividing the country, destroying India's reputation abroad of a land of peace and harmony.
''India has always shown the world how to live in harmony. For thousands of years India has had a reputation of peace and harmony. This is being challenged. There are forces in our country that are dividing the country and it is very dangerous for the country and it ruins our reputation abroad,'' Gandhi said in his address to the Indian National Overseas Congress in New York.
He said it was incumbent on the Congress to defend India 's reputation as a land of peace and harmony. ''India’s reputation in the world is very important. The world is transforming and people are looking towards us. Many countries in a violent world are looking to India and saying maybe, India has the answer to the 21st century. Maybe India has the answer for peaceful coexistence in the 21st century.'' ''So, we cannot afford to lose our most powerful asset. Our most important asset is that 1.3 billion people lived happily, non-violently, peacefully and the world respected us for that. This is something that as Congress people every single one of us has to defend. India is a country that belongs to all its people. Doesn't matter who they are,'' Gandhi added.
Describing Congress as an idea that represented India's philosophy of peace and non violence, Gandhi said, ''We have many religions in our country. We have many different languages in our country. Every single one of them lives happily together, and the reason they have been able to do so are the ideas of the Congress party. The Congress organisation is more than a century old. But, the Congress idea in India is thousands of years old. We don’t represent an organisation, we represent a philosophy that is thousands and thousands of years old.'' Describing creation of jobs as the biggest challenge before the country, Gandhi said, ''30,000 youngsters come into the job market every single day. Today, only 450 of them are getting a job. This is the biggest challenge in front of our country. And, this challenge is going to be addressed by building a unified approach by bringing people together.'' ''India simply cannot give its youngsters a vision if it is unable to give them a job. Currently, the entire focus is on 50 or 60 really large companies. We believe that if you are to create millions and millions of jobs in India, it has to be done by empowering small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs.'' Describing agriculture as a 'strategic asset', Gandhi stressed the need to empower Indian agriculture and farmers. ''We need to build agriculture, we need to develop a cold chain, we need to put food processing units close to farms, and we need to empower Indian agriculture. We need to empower our farmers,'' he said. He also stressed the need to connect IITs to Indian industries and businesses across the world to help them compete with the best businesses in the world. ''US universities are networks, knowledge networks. Information travels within them, they are connected to businesses, they are connected to economy. Our IITs are tremendous institutions but they are not networks. If we connect our IITs to our industries and businesses across the world, they will start to compete with the best businesses in the world,'' he said