India can defend itself from anyone who seeks “to act against our country”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an Independence Day speech on Tuesday.
“Security is our top priority,” Modi said in a speech before thousands at the landmark Red Fort in New Delhi as the country marked the 70th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule.
“Be it the sea or the borders, cyber or space – in all spheres, India is capable and we are strong enough to overcome those who try to act against our country,” the Hindu nationalist leader declared.
“Our security forces have always shown their capabilities whenever on duty. Whether it is terrorism or infiltrators, our security personnel have always been ready for sacrifice,” Modi said in his speech
“When the surgical strike was carried out, the world came to know about the power that India possesses,” Modi added.
India claims to have carried out “surgical strikes” in Pakistan in September last year after an attack on an army base in India-held Kashmir, killing 18 soldiers. The Pakistan Army, however, has denied all such claims.
Modi added that “bullets and abuses” cannot bring peace in Kashmir – where there are an estimated 500,000 Indian troops – but also accused Kashmiri separatists of “scheming”.
During his speech, Modi offered an impassioned defence of his war on corruption, declaring a controversial move to flush out tax cheats a huge success that netted billions.
Modi said his shock decision to devalue India’s largest banknotes had paid dividends, bringing $46 billion in undeclared wealth back into state coffers.
The sudden removal all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation compelled millions to join the formal banking sector for the first time, but triggered a painful cash shortage in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.—AFP