PM Narendra Modi warns Pakistan, China
Pushes for self-reliant India, announces digital health mission
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday issued a veiled warning to Pakistan and China over deadly border tensions, while also promising to strengthen the country's military.
In his Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort for the seventh consecutive time, Modi said: "India's sovereignty and integrity are supreme for us. What we can do, what our soldiers can do — everyone saw that in Ladakh."
"From LoC (Line of Control) to LAC (Line of Actual Control), anyone who casts an eye on the sovereignty of the country, the armed forces have responded in the language they understand," Modi said. "Whether it is terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting both with determination." Modi's comments came amid India's bitter border row with China along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and rise in incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC with Pakistan in the last few months.
Referring to the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh in June, the Prime Minister said respect for India's sovereignty is supreme and the world has seen in Ladakh what its brave jawans can do to maintain this resolve. "I salute all those brave soldiers from the Red Fort," Modi said, adding the whole country is united in protecting the sovereignty of the country.
Twenty Indian army personnel were killed during the clashes on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties, but it is yet to give out the details
On foreign policy issues, Modi said: "A neighbour isn't just someone who shares our geography but those who share our hearts. Where the relationship is respected, it becomes warmer."
Modi underscored his government's commitment to holding Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir after the ongoing delimitation exercise is over.
Besides the announcement of the launch of the National Digital Health Mission, Modi said all the six lakh villages in the country will be connected with optical fibres in 1,000 days to improve digital connectivity for the rural masses.
On digital connectivity for rural masses, Modi said only five dozen village panchayats were connected with optical fibre in 2014. This has increased to 1.5 lakh in the last five years. "In the coming 1,000 days (less than 3 years), all the 6 lakh villages in the country will be connected with optical fibre network." The PM said India's policies, processes and products should be the best in the world and only then the idea of "Shresth Bharat" (best India) will be realised. The Prime Minister asserted that the COVID-19 pandemic cannot halt country's march towards self-reliance and presented a broad outline for spurring India's growth in diverse sectors.
Making a mention of the ground-breaking ceremony for the Ram temple in Ayodhya on August 5, Modi said the centuries-old issue has been resolved peacefully.
The annual Independence Day event at the main venue Red Fort which traditionally witnessed a bustling crowd was scaled down this year in keeping with prescribed COVID-19 safety protocols that also included social distancing for the visitors including ministers and diplomats.