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India fighting twin challenges of terrorism & expansion strongly, says Modi in I-Day speech

In his 90-minute Independence Day address Sunday, PM Narendra Modi made several announcements in agriculture, infrastructure and the social sectors.

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New Delhi: India is fighting the twin challenges of terrorism and expansionism strongly, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 75th Independence Day address in what is being seen as a veiled reference to India’s two neighbours — Pakistan and China.

”Today the world is watching India with a new prism and there are two aspects to this. First is terrorism and the second is expansionism. India is fighting both these challenges and replying to them strongly with maturity,” said PM Modi from the ramparts of Red Fort Sunday.

He noted that through its surgical and air strikes, the country has signalled the emergence of a new India to its enemies. “It conveys that India is capable of and can take tough decisions,” said the PM.

Sporting a Kolhapuri Pheta style saffron safa (headgear), Modi made several announcements during his 90-minute speech, laying out India’s roadmap in infrastructure, agriculture and social sector.

He also highlighted the government’s efforts in the last seven years to uplift different segments of the society, especially the poor and the needy.

In his speech, the PM paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other freedom fighters, including Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, for their role in the freedom movement.

“Be it (Jawaharlal) Nehruji, the first Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who united the nation or Babasaheb Ambedkar, who showed India the way to the future, the country is indebted to all of them,” Modi said.

Also read: PM Modi announces 75 Vande Bharat trains to connect different parts of India

All-inclusive development, J&K polls and Covid

Modi talked about inclusive development of the country in his address, specifically focusing on the Northeast the Himalayan region, including Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, the coastal belt and tribal regions, and said they will make up the foundation of India’s development in the future.

On Jammu and Kashmir, the PM said the Delimitation Commission, which redraws constituency boundaries, has been constituted and announced that preparations are underway for assembly elections in the future.

The PM also spoke at length about how the country handled the challenge of the Covid pandemic, noting that the people of India have fought this battle with restraint and patience.

“It is a moment of pride for us that because of our scientists, we were able to develop two ‘Made In India’ Covid vaccines and carry out the world’s largest vaccine drive. After all our efforts we also lost many in this fight against Covid-19. This unbearable pain will always remain with us,” he said.

The PM also made several new announcements for India’s future infrastructure development.

Among them was the launch of the PM Gati Shakti Plan, a Rs 100-lakh crore national infrastructure master plan for holistic infrastructure development and the National Hydrogen Mission, which will make India a hub for production and export of green hydrogen.

In another first, Modi also announced that the all-boys Sainik schools will now open up to girls across the country.

Also read: Parliament is ‘temple of India’s democracy’, says President Kovind on Independence Day eve

‘Good and smart governance needed to bring reforms’

In his address, Modi noted that political will is required to bring in big changes and reforms and in India there was no dearth of it.

“Good and smart governance is needed to bring reforms. The world is a witness to how India is writing a new chapter of governance,” he said.

“Be it the historic decision to change Article 370 or freeing the country from the old tax system by bringing GST or resolving the Ramjanmabhoomi issue peacefully, we have seen all these come true in the last few years,” he added.

Calling it ‘Bharat ki Vikas Yatra (India’s progress route)’, Modi said that the country has to ensure that it meets the goal of building an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ by the 100th year of Independence.

“We have to change ourselves in changing times. Besides sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas, now, sabka prayaas is also important for achieving the goal of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. Our goal should be to reach 100 per cent saturation … connect 100 per cent of our citizens with schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Ujjwala Yojna, Pension Yojna, Awas Yojna,” Modi said.

The PM also delved on how it is essential to end the unnecessary interference of government and government procedures in the lives of people for the all-round development of the nation.

“Earlier, the government was sitting in the drivers seat. Maybe it was needed at that time. But the time has changed now. Efforts have increased in the last seven years to free the people from the web of unnecessary laws and procedures. Several unnecessary laws have been scrapped so far,” he said.

Referring to the youth of the country as the “can do generation”, the Prime Minister said that this generation “can achieve every goal”.

(Edited by Rachel John)

Also read: Independence celebrations didn’t interest Gandhi. The National Flag’s design did


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