'India Can Take Tough Decisions', Says PM Modi on 75th Independence Day
Indian won freedom from the British Empire in 1947, two hundred years after the British took over the country. The nation witnessed one of the bloodiest partitions as India was divided into two nations - India and Pakistan as the British left.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on the occasion of India's 75th Independence Day from the iconic Red Fort in New Delhi, laying out a plan for the next 25 years.
Saying there is no dearth of political will in the country to take on challenging decisions, Modi delivered his eighth consecutive Independence Day address to the nation.
Alluding to a threat from external forces, Modi said: "India is fighting with terrorism and expansionism. By conducting surgical strikes and airstrikes, we have given a message of the emergence of a new India to our enemies. It also conveyed that India can take tough decisions".
Recalling the violence during the partition of India in 1947, Modi said that it can never be forgotten. He announced that 14 August would now be observed as "Partition Horrors Remembrance Day".
The day will commemorate the "struggles and sacrifices" of millions who were displaced and who lost their lives during the partition. It is estimated that 2 million died in the violence that marked the division of the country into two independent nations - India and Pakistan. More than 10 million people were displaced.
Talking about the country's farmers, who have been protesting against three contentious laws passed by his government in the autumn of 2020, the PM stressed the need to apply scientific research to agriculture.
"We need to reap all its benefits. It will not just provide food security to the nation, but will also increase food produce", he said.
Lauding the efforts of healthcare workers in fighting COVID-19 for the past 18 months, the prime minister said: "The loss of people's lives we have suffered in the pandemic will stay with us".
"We have made huge efforts to ensure that we can protect the lives of our people. We are proud that the world's largest vaccination drive is underway in India", he added.
India's Energy Ambitions and Initiatives Launched
In terms of climate change, PM Modi launched the National Hydrogen Mission.
"We have to make India a hub for the production and export of Green Hydrogen. We have to make India energy independent before completing 100 years of freedom", he said. "It will provide India the quantum jump it needs", he added.
India has moved towards electric mobility and work is underway on 100% electrification of the Indian Railways with the aim of becoming a net zero carbon emitter by 2030, said the prime minister.
"In the coming days we will launch the PM Gati Shakti Plan, a national infrastructure master plan which will create a foundation for holistic infrastructure and provide an integrated pathway for our economy", Modi announced.
As part of the 75th Independence Day celebrations, 75 "Vande Bharat" ("Tribute to India") trains will connect every corner of the country in the next 75 weeks.
Buoyed by the success of the Indian athletes in the recently concluded Olympics, the prime minister also announced sports would now be considered a mainstream subject, instead of an elective course in the educational curriculum.
"There was a time when sports was not considered a part of the mainstream. Parents would tell children that they would spoil their life if they kept playing. Now awareness regarding sports and fitness has come within the country. We have experienced this in the Olympics".
Congratulations Pour in From World Leaders
On India's 75th Independence Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his warm greetings to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The success achieved by India in economic, social, [and] other spheres is widely acknowledged. India rightfully enjoys high prestige in the global arena, plays an important role in solving topical issues of the international agenda".
Appreciating Russia and India's privileged strategic partnership, he added: "Further enhancement of the whole spectrum of constructive ties entirely meets the interests of our people and is in accordance with strengthening stability and security on a regional and global level".
In turn, US President Joe Biden in a congratulatory message to India said that the partnership between New Delhi and Washington was "more important than ever".
"We must show the world that our two great and diverse democracies deliver for people everywhere. Our nations have come together in many ways as we tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, including working in partnership with Japan and Australia - through the Quad - to expand global manufacturing of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and to our last mile coordination to reach people throughout the Indo-Pacific", said Biden.