Reiterating his “mantra” of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) to face the economic challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech on Saturday warned those who attempted to challenge the sovereignty. He said India will give befitting reply to them while fiercely combating “terrorism” and “expansionism.”
Addressing the nation from the Red Fort on the occasion of 74th Independence Day, the Prime Minister said, “When we embark upon an extraordinary journey to achieve an extraordinary target, multiple and unusual challenges come in our way.”
“In the midst of such a disaster, there have been vicious attempts to challenge the country’s strength at the borders. But, from LOC to LAC, whoever raised his eyes on the sovereignty of the country, our brave soldiers have answered to him in his language,” PM said in an indirect reference to China’s aggression on Ladakh border.
“Respect for India’s sovereignty is supreme for us. What our brave soldiers can do for this resolution, what the country can do, the world has seen this in Ladakh,” he added.
Without naming Pakistan or China, Prime Minister said, “Be it terrorism or expansionism, India is fiercely combating today.”
Discussing the fight against expansionism during the freedom struggle, the Prime Minister said that during that period also India became a challenge for the expansionists.
Follow Independence Day 2020 LIVE updates here
Talking about the country’s extended neighborhood, the Prime Minister said, “Neighbors are not only the countries with whom we share our geographical boundaries but those countries with whom we share cordial relations are also our neighbors. Where there is harmony in relationships… We are connecting our relations with our neighbors, whether they are connected to us on land or from the sea, with the partnership of security, development and trust.”
“One-fourth of the world’s population lives in South Asia…All leaders of the countries in this region have an important responsibility towards the development and progress of this huge population,” he said.
In his 86-minute speech, the Prime Minister spoke about the economy at length and reiterated the mantra of self-reliant India. “Atma Nirbhar is not only a word, it has become a mantra,” he said.
The Prime Minister said, “Today, the World is interconnected and interdependent and we have to increase India’s contribution to the world economy… We have to convert Make in India into Make for World.”
Reiterating his slogan “Vocal for Local”, the Prime Minister emphasised on the need of boosting local products, particularly small-scale rural industries.
“Corona is a big disaster but not so great that it can stop self-reliant India’s victory march,” he said.
PM Narendra Modi Independence Day 2020 speech: Read top quotes here
The Prime Minister announced connecting all six lakh villages with the optical fiber in the next 1,000 days. He said so far 1.5 lakh panchayats have been connected by the optical fibre broadband connections.
Underlining the need for an integrated approach in the infrastructure sector, the Prime Minister also announced a 4-lane coastal road project. He said the government has prepared a draft of a new cyber security policy and it will be unveiled very soon.
On COVID-19 vaccine, the Prime Minister said Indian scientists are working as “Rishi-muni” in labs and work is going on 3 vaccines at different levels.
“As soon the scientists give a green signal, a large production of these vaccines will start… How this vaccine reaches to each and every Indian, a plan has been prepared for the same,” he said.
The Prime Minister also announced the launch of the National Digital Health Mission, which is aimed at providing a unique health id for each individual.
Discussing the abrogation of Article 370, the Prime Minister said women, Dalits and refugees in Jammu and Kashmir have witnessed a dignified life during the last one year.
The Prime Minister said that a delimitation commission is working in Jammu and Kashmir and the assembly election will be held in the UT once the delimitation work gets completed.
Also read | ‘Make for World’ is PM Modi’s new call
He also announced that on the lines of Project Tiger, a Project Dolphin will be launched across the country on various rivers, which will boost biodiversity and lead to employment generation as it is a major tourist attraction. He also said that project lion will also be launched.
He said that the National Cadet Corps (NCC) will be extended to 173 border and coastal districts of the country. Under this campaign, special training will be given to about 1 lakh new NCC cadets. Out of this about one-third will be girls.
Clad in a saffron turban, Modi also mentioned the beginning of the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.
In his 7th Independence Day Speech, Modi also talked about the schemes and reforms launched by NDA government in its present and previous tenures. The Prime Minister said that two crore households have been provided tap connections under Jal Jeevan Mission during the last one year.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines