- PM Modi referred to clash with China in June at Galwan Valley in Ladakh
- "India's integrity is supreme for us," he said
- PM Modi addressed nation from Red Fort for seventh consecutive year
India's soldiers have given a fitting reply to anyone who has challenged the country's sovereignty, "from LoC to LAC", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today, addressing the nation on its 74th Independence Day.
"From LoC (Line of Control) to LAC (Line of Actual Control), whenever India's sovereignty has been challenged, our soldiers have answered them in their own language," said the Prime Minister, in a strong message to Pakistan and China without naming either.
Referring to the clash with China in June at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, PM Modi said: "India's integrity is supreme for us. What our jawans can do, what the country can do, the world saw that in Ladakh. Today, I salute all those brave soldiers from the Red Fort."
Twenty soldiers died for the country in the clash with Chinese troops on June 15. With talks on de-escalation deadlocked, PM Modi's words were seen as a strong warning to China.
Whether it is terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting both, the Prime Minister said.
"Today the world stands with India and to get 184 votes out of 192 nations in the UN for a (non-permanent) seat at the UN Security Council is proof," he said.
PM Modi, wearing a saffron and white safa and a similar scarf that he used as a mask, addressed the nation from the Red Fort for the seventh consecutive year.
In the one-hour 26-minute speech, he focused on the themes of "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)", "Vocal for local" and "Make in India to Make for World". He also paid tribute to those on the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus and declared that India had a roadmap ready for the production and distribution of three COVID-19 vaccines that are at various stages of testing.
The Prime Minister underscored that neighbours were not only those that India shared a border with. Relations with neighbours depended on security, progress and trust, he said.
"A neighbour isn't just someone who shares our borders but those who share our hearts. Where the relationship is respected, it becomes warmer. Today, India has close relations in the greater neighbourhood. We are working together and have a lot of mutual respect for each other," the PM asserted.