Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort in New Delhi on the occasion of 74th Independence Day on Saturday (August 15), not only re-pitched his slogan for self-reliance, but also outlined the achievements of his government amid the COVID-19 pandemic while paying tributes to the soldiers who laid down their lives at Galwan Valley.
Modi, who wore a saffron – symbolising strength and courage – turban for his seventh Independence Day speech, began his address by paying tributes to freedom fighters and security forces while also remembering Aurobindo Ghose, a freedom fighter and spiritual philosopher whose birth anniversary falls today.
He said his government’s goal of a self-reliant India is slowly becoming the goal of 130 crore Indians.
“How long will we export raw materials and import finished goods? Time has come that we end this cycle. India must now manufacture everything it consumes and also export to the world as we grow,” he said.
He also listed out a number of reform measures undertaken by his government which has resulted in a record Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country last year.
He said India’s health sector has taught the nation the biggest lesson in self-reliance.
“Before corona, we just had one lab. Now we have 1,400 of them. Before Corona, only 300 tests were possible, but today we can conduct 7 lakh tests in a day,” he said.
The prime minister also launched the National Digital Health Mission on the occasion. He said it will enable individuals to avail all health services and keep records of their health with the help of just one health identity card.
Talking about the progress of COVID-19 vaccines developed by India, Modi said three vaccines are in different stages of their development and will be manufactured and made available to each and every countryman once scientists give them a go ahead.
Referring to India’s border conflict with China at eastern Ladakh, the prime minister said Indian soldiers showed what the country is capable of when attacked during the Galwan standoff.
“From LOC to LAC, whenever the enemy has attacked the sovereignty of the nation, our jawans have given them a befitting answer. The entire nation is united to guard the sovereignty of the nation. We saw in Ladakh what India is capable of when attack. From the precincts of the Red Fort, I bow down to the soldiers who laid down their lives,” he said.
He also praised people for maintaining peace with regard to the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. “Construction of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya started 10 days ago. Ramjanmbhoomi issue that prevailed for centuries, has been resolved peacefully. The conduct of people of the country has been unprecedented and is an inspiration for future,” he said.