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Modi offers love to Kashmir on I-Day, says India can fight any security challenge 

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) India is capable of fighting any security threat on “borders, space or cyberspace”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday, as he urged militants in Kashmir to shun violence and let love resolve the dragging problem.

Addressing the nation on India’s 71st Independence Day, Modi also called for a “New India” free of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption. And he warned those indulging in mob violence that attacks in the name of “aastha” (faith) won’t be allowed.

In a 56-minute speech, his fourth from the Red Fort, Modi touched upon many topics including security, demonetisation and black money and vowed to lead India “with a greater speed”. 

“India’s security is our priority. Be it our coastline or our borders, the space or the cyberspace, India is capable of ensuring its own security and strong enough to ward off any threats against the country,” Modi said amid a lingering border row with China.

Modi said India wanted to restore the glory of Kashmir, a “paradise” on Earth.

Taking a jibe at “a handful of separatists”, he said they were adopting new tactics to keep the pot boiling.

“But I am absolutely clear about how to fight this battle. Neither brickbats nor bullets can solve the problem. The problem will be solved by embracing every Kashmiri.”

Asserting that there would be no let up in India’s fight against terrorism, the Prime Minister called upon militants to shun the gun and join the mainstream. 

“We time and again call terrorists to join the mainstream where you have every right and where there is every arrangement to put forward your point of view through democratic ways.”

Unlike the last year, Modi made no reference to Pakistan or the border conflict with China. But he said India wasn’t alone in its battle against terror and had the active support of many countries who shared intelligence inputs.

He saluted all the uniformed forces who have “showed valour and strength in India’s fight against “Left-Wing-Extremism, terrorism, infiltrators”. 

He said the world acknowledged India’s “might and strength” after the surgical strike against terror launch pads in Pakistan last year.

Deprecating violence in the name of faith, Modi said some people due to lack of patience end up destroying the social fabric.

“The poison of casteism and communalism can never benefit the country. We have to move forward taking everyone along and that is why in the name of faith, violence cannot be allowed.”

Modi said destroying public property in mob violence was unacceptable.

Referring to his war against black money and efforts to make India corruption-free, he said: “Today, after three years, I want to tell the countrymen proudly that we have confiscated black money worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore, the culprits would be brought to book and forced to surrender. 

“The hidden black money has been brought into the formal economy,” he said, adding about Rs 3 lakh crore had been brought into the banking system after demonetization.

The Prime Minister said over Rs 1.75 lakh crore deposited in banks after note ban was under the scanner. 

The number of new taxpayers filing income tax returns from April 1 to August 5 was 56 lakh, up from 22 lakh in the same period last year. “This is the result of our fight against black money.”

He talked about the seizure of benami properties worth over Rs 800 crore. 

“Around 4.5 lakh people have now come forward and are trying to trade the right path after accepting their mistakes. One lakh people, who had neither heard of Income Tax nor paid Income Tax, have now been forced to do so.”

On new Goods and Services Tax, he said this was brought and implemented in a short span of time, stunning the world.

Modi said there would be a New India by 2022, when it marks 75 years of independence.

“I invoke Team India to run for a New India by 2022. By then the poor shall have concrete houses, the farmer shall double his income, youths and women will get ample opportunities, an India free of casteism, terrorism, corruption, nepotism, a clean India.”

He expressed support to the women battling the practice of Triple Talaq. Modi said a new hope had replaced hopelessness in the country, forcing people to give up “this ‘chalta hai’ attitude” and think of “badal sakta hai”.

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