06:11 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an election campaign rally at Mahabubnagar district of Telangana state, India, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. Elections in Telangana state will be held in December

    Indian PM Modi Addresses Independence Day Amid Kashmir Tensions, Vows to Expose Exporters of Terror

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    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made his sixth consecutive Independence Day address. Modi held his speech at the historic landmark Red Fort in New Delhi after a flag hoisting ceremony.

    Apart from touching upon major domestic issues such as overpopulation and the development of infrastructure, Modi mentioned the situation in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region, stressing that the recent amendment of India's constitution and, in particular, removing the Article 370, will contribute to the full integration of the region into the nation.

    "In the past 70 years, the existed system in Jammu and Kashmir encouraged terrorism, nepotism, corruption and deprived the disadvantaged section of the society, including women, children, and tribals equal rights", Modi said, adding that "India will continue to fight against terrorism and expose those who support or export terror. Terrorism is against humanity".

    Article 370 of the Indian constitution protected the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, requiring the mandatory approval of most of the laws adopted by the Indian parliament in the local assembly. Earlier this month, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind signed a decree removing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and granting the Ladakh region the status of a union territory without a legislature, which meant it would be directly controlled by the federal government.

    The remainder of the state became a second union territory.

    Pakistan, the long-time contender for the disputed Kashmir region, condemned India's move, with Prime Minister Imran Khan comparing it to 20th century Nazi ideology.

    Part of Modi's Independence Day address was also devoted to the development of the economy. The Indian prime minister argued that the current political system in the country is stable, which may facilitate trade and cooperation with other countries and act to boost economic growth.

    "From 2014 to 2019, we became a $3 trillion economy. Before that, in the last 70 years, the country was a $2 trillion economy. We added $1 trillion to the economy in just five years. Now we are looking forward to making the nation a $5 trillion economy", Modi said.

    Modi in his sixth consecutive Independence Day speech suggested that India be more environmentally friendly and completely free of single-use plastic, urging startup entrepreneurs to come up with recycling ideas.

    In July, the Indian government presented its annual economic survey. According to the document, India's economic growth fell from 7.2 percent in the 2017/2018 fiscal year to 6.8 percent in the following year. The survey predicted, however, that growth could increase to 7 percent in the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

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