New Delhi: Speaking from Red Fort to mark the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today talked about issues including the recent deaths of children in Gorakhpur, the stand off with China at Doklam, Kashmir, the goods and services tax (GST) and more.
Modi said bullets or abuses will not resolve the Kashmir issue, which can be addressed by embracing every Kashmiri. His government, Modi said, is committed to restoring the “lost glory of Kashmir and its status as heaven on Earth”.
“Na gaali se samasya sulajhne wali hai, na goli se, samasya suljhegi har Kashmiri ko gale lagane se (The Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by either bullets or abuses. It can be resolved by embracing all Kashmiris),” Modi said in his fourth Independence Day speech.
He said only a “handful of separatists” were resorting to different tactics to create problems in the state and said that there will be no soft approach on terrorism.
Not only the Jammu and Kashmir government, but the entire country is with the people of the state in helping them realise their dreams of development, Modi said.
‘Violence in the name of faith unacceptable’
During his hour-long address, the prime minister also declared that violence in the name of faith was not acceptable and termed casteism and communalism as ‘poison’.
Pitching for harmony and peace, he said “Bharat jodo (connect India)” should be a popular slogan, like “Bharat chhodo (Quit India)” was during the freedom struggle.
Underlining that “India is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Buddha”, he said the culture of the country is to take everyone along on the path of development.
Many ‘natural calamities’, including in Gorakhpur
Referring to recent incidents of “natural calamities” in various parts of the country, including the death of children at a state-run hospital in Uttar Pradesh, he said sympathies of the entire nation are with the affected families.
“Many parts of the country faced natural calamities in the recent past. Children died at a hospital. The entire nation is with them,” Modi said.
Noting that natural calamities become a big challenge, he said while good rains contribute to prosperity of the country, climate change creates problems.
‘India can face all security challenges’
India is capable of tackling any kind of security challenge, be it the sea or borders, Modi said.
Without naming China or the two-month-long Doklam standoff, he said the country’s security is a priority for his government and that soldiers are deployed to protect the borders effectively.
“It is clear that security of our country is our priority. Internal security is our priority. Be it sea or borders, be it cyber or space, India is capable of tackling every security challenge,” he said.
“Our army, our bravehearts, every personnel in uniform and not only the army, navy, the IAF, have shown their capability and grit whenever there was a situation. Our heroes never shied away from sacrifices,” he said.
“Be it Left-wing extremism, terrorism, be it infiltration or be it tackling the forces trying to foment trouble inside, our people in uniform have always given sacrifices,” Modi said.
The prime minister asserted that there will be no “soft approach” towards terrorism or terrorists and the government is determined to rid the country of this menace. He also said the government has given an opportunity to terrorists to join the national mainstream. “We have told terrorists ‘you come to the mainstream, you have right to talk inside the country’s democratic system’.”
Modi said that in its fight against terrorism, India is getting support from other countries. “You will be happy to know that we are not alone in fight against terrorism. So many countries have been actively helping us. If there is a hawala transaction, the world is giving us information, the world is giving us details about the movement of terrorists,” he said.
During his speech, Modi also announced a website which is being launched to give information about security personnel and citizens who have contributed significantly towards the country.
(With PTI inputs)