No nation can afford to be insular: TN Guv Ravi

Delivering the 37th annual convocation address at VIT here, the Governor said India and the US have a very long history of friendly relationships essentially based on sheer values.
Governor R N Ravi
Governor R N Ravi

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi on Thursday said no country can afford to be insular and inward in outlook and not drawn to global commitment in the wake of challenges posed by certain countries and climate changes.

India, for centuries, has evolved itself on its culture which promotes collaboration, consensus, and a commitment to human well-being, he said.

Delivering the 37th annual convocation address at VIT here, the Governor said India and the US have a very long history of friendly relationships essentially based on sheer values.

''India's commitment to democracy is a way of life and has been with us for over 2,000 years in various forms in inscriptions and writings in books. Taking decisions collaboratively with consensus and discussion has been a part of our life,'' Ravi said.

''That is why we say democracy is our Zanskar. So, the relationship between the two countries is based on values and democracy and all that goes with it,'' he said.

Over the years, the ties matured to sheer interest in not only being democratic but also in ensuring democratic institutions are strengthened all over and then graduated to the stage of sheer responsibilities.

''Today the world is in a situation where we see a disturbing trend to change the world order. A very long time ago, the US took the responsibility to maintain the world order and peaceful world order,'' the Governor said.

In recent years, a country has ''risen in a way which is disturbing the established order and is hegemonistic in its outlook, approach and its relationship,'' Ravi claimed without mentioning the country. He claimed that country is attempting to encroach global space and was posing a very serious threat to all those believing in democracy, democratic values, human dignity, and a world based on rule of law.

''A law is not the law a country says this is the law but a law that is by and large universally acceptable. This is the big challenge today. The USA cannot do it alone and India has come to share this responsibility,'' he said.

India is a strategic partner with the USA in many sensitive areas and is together trying to see that the global order remains committed to democracy, democratic values, and human dignity. He claimed that India is awake and highly aspirational. ''Today you can't afford to be insular or inward-looking. We have a responsibility not to ourselves but also to the rest of humanity. And we are doing it in our modest way,'' he said.

The pandemic was an instance during which the country succeeded in supplying the COVID-19 vaccines to 150 countries, apart from exceeding 200 crore vaccinations in the country. In addition, India was addressing several issues including climate change.

''India has never been insular. Collaboration has been part of its culture and collective living,'' he said.

Turning to the young graduates and scholars, the Governor urged them to think new and to start doing something new, and not be afraid of failures, as life is not a journey of continuous success. ''Don't allow failure to defeat you. Take a risk, think of something revolutionary, something big to start with and if you fail let it be a lesson for the fresh initiative. Don't allow yourself to be defeated by your setbacks,'' he advised after presenting degrees to 5,851 graduates, 2,317 postgraduates, and gold medals to 62 candidates. Ph.D. was awarded to 215 scholars on the occasion. Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) was conferred on Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director, US National Science Foundation (NSF).

VIT founder-Chancellor G Viswanathan said his varsity has been ranked among the top 3 in India out of 600 - 700 universities in the world. "We wish to work up to the numero uno position,'' he added. He called upon Central and State governments to invest more in education and research and said countries like Israel, South Korea, and even the US lead in research.

''Even the per capita expenditure on education is less compared to other countries. I want the governments to concentrate on enhancing the GDP on education and also per capita expenditure on research," Viswanathan said.

Countries and States that spent on education have come up economically and brought down poverty levels, he argued and pointed out that the Centre's New Education Policy (NEP) talks about increasing the gross enrollment ratio to 50 percent. ''But at present, the GER is 27 percent,'' he said.

Investment in education could help realize the goals of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in achieving a USD 10 trillion economy, and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin's dream of realizing a USD 1 trillion economy.

Higher education should be made accessible and affordable to all sections of society, he said and added that 30 countries in the world offer free education up to the university level while some countries offer free education to foreign students.

US Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin informed that the US Consulate would collaborate with VIT in hosting education fairs in Vellore on September 21 and Chennai on September 22.

VIT vice presidents Sankar Viswanathan, Sekar Viswanathan, G V Selvam, assistant vice-president Kadambari S Viswanathan and executive director Sandhya Pentareddy were among those who participated in the convocation.

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