SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL FOR FLAGGING IN OF THE WOMEN'S EVEREST EXPEDITION 2012
Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi, 3rd July, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a matter of great pride to "flag in" the successful Indian Army Women Expedition to Mount Everest, undertaken by the brave women officers ably supported by the mountaineers of the Army. I compliment the seven women officers for their determination and courage to reach the top of the world. I also appreciate the achievement of the other ten mountaineers of the Army who reached the summit of the Everest. My special compliments to Subedar Rajendra Singh Jalal who is the first Indian Army mountaineer to climb the Everest without using supplementary oxygen. I understand that this expedition was conceived last year to mark the completion of 25 years of the Army Adventure Wing. By successfully scaling Mount Everest, the team has proven that Army training prepares our young men and women to face every challenge, and to overcome any obstacle to scale great heights.
The challenging and demanding activity of mountaineering requires indomitable courage, grit, determination and perseverance. Success in such expedition is the result of team work with a high degree of esprit-de-corps. The task that you had undertaken was no easy one. I am sure that it required a great amount of preparation, and strenuous training to attain the ability and stamina to climb the highest point on Earth. Hence, I would like to congratulate all involved in this mission - the organizers, those involved in training and, of course, the team itself. The joy that you would have experienced would have been no less than the exhilaration of the team of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, which for the first time climbed Mount Everest, about sixty years ago. Hillary also famously said, "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." It is so very true. When we achieve success in a challenging task such as going up a mighty mountain, it teaches humility besides helping in overcoming fear and realizing the great strength of being a disciplined person. I am proud to receive the Expedition Flag of the Indian Army Women's Everest Expedition - a very important and significant symbol of national achievement. It would be interesting for this gathering to know, that the Indian flag hoisted on Mount Everest by the Hillary-Tenzing team, is in the Museum of Rashtrapati Bhavan, and it is a valued treasure. Your Flag will be a valuable addition.
The grand success of this Indian Army Women Expedition marks a new chapter in the history of mountaineering. The Indian Army has added another feather in its cap by fielding a women's team for undertaking such an extreme adventure with full success.
Our gallant soldiers have always proved that no challenge is insurmountable for them. I would like to see more such challenging expeditions being undertaken in the future by the Army.
I am confident that this great achievement will further inspire the youth of the nation to the field of adventure and explorations. I extend my heartiest greetings and felicitations to the team members, and the Directorate General of Military Training, for the safe and successful completion of the expedition.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate all the families of the members of this expedition. I am sure that this feat could not have been attained without their support. I am sure that they would be rejoicing at your success, and would be truly proud of your achievement, as indeed are all of us. As I convey my best wishes to all of you, I wish you greater success in the future.