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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Modi promises peace to the northeast, makes pitch for progress

In his Independence Day speech, the Indian leader addressed internal challenges and outlined his vision for the country's growth

In a speech marking India’s 77th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined his vision for national growth and development and pledged the government’s commitment to restoring peace in the conflict-ridden state of Manipur.

Speaking from the ramparts of Old Delhi’s Red Fort, a Mughal-era monument, following a tradition started by independent India’s first leader, Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947, Modi said the entire country stood with the Manipur, which has been marred by ethnic clashes since May.

Read more: No-confidence motion against Modi govt defeated in parliament

In the past few weeks, during the period of violence in the North East, especially in Manipur, many people lost their lives, and the honor of mothers and daughters suffered a lot. However, in the last few days, there are reports of peace. The nation stands with Manipur,” the PM said as he began his speech on Tuesday morning.

The people of Manipur should build on the peace that has been restored over the past few days. The path for a solution will be found through peace in Manipur,” he stated. Modi also extended condolences to people affected by floods and landslides caused by torrential rains in the northern Himalayan states and elsewhere in the country.

This year, several states of the country have witnessed an unimaginable crisis. I express my sympathy to all the affected families and assure them that the state and central governments will work together to overcome this challenge,” Modi said.

The Indian leader outlined his vision for the country’s growth over the next 25 years. “In 2047, when the country will be celebrating 100 years of Independence, India will be a developed country,” the PM stated.

Read more: Modi to attend BRICS summit in person — New Delhi

Highlighting that India is now the world’s fifth-largest economy “due to the efforts” of 1.4 billion citizens, Modi promised to take it to the third spot. “In the coming years, India will be in the top three economies. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he pledged, adding that the government has taken several steps to strengthen the economy by tackling corruption and managing inflation.

Taking a dig at the opposition party, as he did last week on several occasions, including his speech during a three-day no-confidence motion debate in the parliament, initiated by the key opposition party, the Congress, Modi urged the fight against three evils: corruption, dynasty politics that has “ruined the country”, and appeasement “which has left a blot on the national character“.

In his nearly 90-minute-long address, the Indian leader also emphasized India’s growing role in the “new geopolitical equation” post Covid-19 pandemic. As New Delhi prepares to host the summit of G20 leaders next month, Modi noted that the G20 presidency was an opportunity for the country to introduce its capabilities and diversity to the world. This wasn’t just limited to India’s largest cities like Delhi, Mumbai, or Kolkata, but also smaller towns and villages. The prime minister praised the impact of young people and startups in various fields.