RI President awed by Indian people`s patriotism

New Delhi (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he was awed by the nationalistic spirit and patriotism of the Indian people demonstrated at the 61th anniversary of India`s Republic Day.

In a speech at the meeting with the Indonesian community at the Indonesian embassy in New Delhi on Wednesday President Yudhoyono said Indonesia needs to preserve the same tradition with regard to promoting its spirit of nationalism and patriotism.

"Just now when we saw the parade and all the activities at the Republic Day we could feel the sense of patriotism of the Indian people from the beginning to the end. I listened to the words they said carefully," he said.

The parade was seen off with the raising of the national flag accompanied by the singing of the national anthem and firing of canons 21 times.

It was then followed by an exhibition of military hardware produced by India, and a parade of military forces and cultural performances from all provinces in that country and floats showing prime programs of the ministries.

The parade was concluded with an airshow by Indian jet aircraft.

New Delhi people had flocked to Rajpath where the event took place in the morning.

President Yudhoyono said the parade actually was like a combination of the commemoration of the Indonesian declaration of independence on August 17 and the National Defense Forces Day and cultural parade usually held in the evening of the August 17 commemoration day.

"So actually what we have been doing was right because advanced nations always also keep their nationalist and unity spirit alive," he said.

President Yudhoyono said those who always questioned the use

of cultural parades in the country so far certainly were not aware that a nation needs to nurture its nationalist spirit.

"A nation is the spirit to unite. Nationalism and patriotism are a feeling. Not everything can be measured politically and economically or in terms of trade although they are part of our life as a nation," he said.

Therefore, he said, all kinds of commemorative events intended to boost the spirit and preserve the ideals of the nation and state had to be continuously held according to the country`s traditional values and customs.(*)