The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of India’s first historic climb of Mt. Everest in 1965 organized by The Indian Mountaineering Foundation today (May 20, 2015) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that over the years Indian mountaineers have distinguished themselves not only by scaling the highest peaks but also as brave soldiers of the gallant armed forces which have included the ITBP. Many of them have served with great distinction during the Kargil conflict and continue to defend our highest frontiers with courage and with fortitude. Along with these great achievements, the first Indian conquest of Everest and the conquest by first Indian woman, Bachendri Pal, has found its place in many text books and has inspired several generations over the years.
The President said that the Indian Mountaineering Foundation that sponsored the Expedition in 1965 has come a long way since then and has grown to become an Institution that all adventure lovers look up to for guidance. It has always taken a broad and holistic approach in its mandate. In recent years the Indian Mountaineering Foundation has also been involved in environment protection works in the Himalayas. There is no greater service that it can do to this cause than by working for the preservation of the Himalayan ecology and the environment of the Himalayas. He expressed happiness over the fact that from very early on the mountaineering fraternity has encouraged women to take up this sport.
The President extended his greetings and felicitations to all surviving members of the historic expedition and paid homage to the memory of many courageous mountaineers of that expedition who are no longer with us today. He also paid homage to all those mountaineers who have lost their lives in their valiant attempts to climb Mt. Everest over the years. He wished members of the 1965 Everest Expedition, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and the entire mountaineering community many years of productive contributions in the service of the nation. He stated that they have an important role to play in instilling in our youth the values and the character that make a good mountaineer and thereby a good citizen of our republic.
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