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India celebrates 70th Independence Day
August 15, 2017, 5:24 am

India marked 70 years of independence from colonial rule on Tuesday.

Addressing the nation from the 17th Century Red Fort in Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of building a “New India” where “everybody is equal”, of peace in Kashmir and the fight against corruption.

The Indian capital has been under a blanket of security, with thousands of police and soldiers deployed across the city.

On Tuesday, Modi listed the government’s achievements in the past two years, including the introduction of a new tax reform.

“India’s stature in the world is rising. The world is with us in fighting the menace of terror,” he said.

Speaking of the violence in India’s most restive region, Kashmir, Modi said “not bullets and abuses but embracing Kashmiris will bring peace”.

India has been struggling to restore normalcy in Kashmir, deploying thousands more soldiers after massive protests and demonstrations following the death of Burhan Wani, a militant killed by the Indian army last year.

Tens of thousands have died in Kashmir as Indian army, paramilitaries and police have battled local and foreign separatists since 1989.

On Tuesday, the Indian Prime Minister also appealed to Indians to shun communal violence and work instead for the nation’s progress.

“India is about Shanti (peace), Ekta (unity) and Sadbhavana (amity). Casteism and communalism will not help us,” he said.

India has a dark history of religious violence, especially between the Hindu majority and Muslims, who account for more than 150 million people, making India the world’s third most populous Muslim nation.

In August 1947, British India won independence after a long protracted struggle and split into two new states – India and Pakistan.

 

TBP

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