In his speech, the prime minister also strongly pitched for creating a "New India" and said there will be no place for corruption, casteism, communalism and terrorism.
Sending out a significant message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said bullets or abuses will not help resolve the problems of Kashmir and a change can take place by embracing all Kashmiris.
In his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort, he also slammed violence in the name of faith, saying it was “not acceptable” and that communalism and casteism were a “poison” that would do no good to the country.
During his 56 minute speech, Modi also asserted that India is capable of tackling any kind of security challenge, be it the sea or borders, a remark that assumes significance in view of the standoff with China in Doklam.
Attired in his trademark half-sleeve ‘kurta’, churidar pajama and Rajasthani headgear, Modi started his speech with a reference to casualties caused by natural calamities in different parts of the country and deaths of children in a state-run hospital in Gorakhopur, saying sympathies of the entire nation are with the affected families.
Addressing the nation for the fourth time from the Red Fort, he also spoke about his three-year-old government’s achievements and the major decisions taken, particularly referring to the GST rollout and demonetisation.
He said national security is a priority for the government and there will be no soft approach towards terrorists or terrorism.
Referring to Kashmir where the situation has been uneasy since last year, the prime minister said, “Na gaali se, na goli se, parivartan hoga gale lagaane se... samasya suljhegi har Kashmiri ko gale lagane se (problems of Kashmir cannot be addressed by either bullets or by abuses. The change can come by embracing all Kashmiris).”
WATCH: PM Modi embraces Kashmir in I-Day speech
He said only a handful of separatists were resorting to different tactics to create problems in the state but the government is committed to making Kashmir a paradise once again.
Modi said not only the Jammu and Kashmir government but the entire country is with the people of the state in helping them realise their dreams of development.
He said the government is committed to restoring the lost glory of Kashmir and again make it the ‘heaven on earth’.
Modi referred to last year’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control and said the world has realised the mettle of India’s security forces.
He said India’s stature in the world is rising and several countries are cooperating with India in fighting the menace of terrorism.
“It is clear that security of our country is our priority. Internal security is our priority. Be it sea or borders, be it cyber or space, India is capable of tackling every security challenge,” he said amidst the standoff with China in Doklam, which he did not refer to directly.
“Our army, our bravehearts, every personnel in uniform and not only the army, navy, the Indian Air Force, have shown their capability and grit whenever there was a situation. Our heroes never shied away from sacrifices,” he said.
India stands for peace, unity, and harmony, he said, adding “poison” of casteism and communalism will not help the nation.
“Violence in the name of faith is not acceptable in the country,” Modi said while invoking Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Buddha.
“Bharat Jodo” (connect India) should be the slogan like “Bharat chhodo” (Quit India) was during the freedom struggle, he said.
He also referred to the issue of ‘triple talaq’, saying he paid regards to the women who had to lead a pitiable life because of it and had started a movement which has created an environment in the country against the practice.
Watch PM Modi unfurls tricolour at Red Fort on 70th I-Day
Talking about rollout of GST on July 1, he said it was a key illustration of cooperative federalism.
He said abolition of inter-state check posts after the implementation of GST has reduced time for movement of goods by 30 per cent and saved thousands of crores of rupees.
Mentioning his resolve to curb black money, he said demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last November had helped bring over Rs 3 lakh crore of hereto unaccounted wealth into the banking system.
He said over Rs 1.75 lakh crore has been deposited in banks post note-ban and more than 18 lakh people with disproportionate income are under government scrutiny.
“Those who have looted the nation and looted the poor are not able to sleep peacefully today,” the prime minister said, vowing to continue the crackdown on black money.
WATCH: Modi pitches for New India where everybody will get equal opportunities
Modi also asked the countrymen to shed ‘chalta hai’ attitude and instead adopt an approach of ‘badal sakta hai’ (can change) for positive change.
Invoking Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s slogan of swaraj (self- rule), he said now their motto should be ‘suraj’ (good governance) as he underlined his vision for a ‘new India’ by 2022.
In ‘new India’, he said, “Tantra se lok nahin, lok se tantra chalega (people would be the driving force behind the establishment rather than the other way around).” He lamented that democracy has been confined to ballots.
The nation had shown its collective strength between 1942 and 1947 culminating in India’s Independence, he said, asking people to show the same resolve to create a ‘new India’ by 2022.
He emphasised that everyone is equal in the nation and together they can bring about a qualitative transformation.
Highlighting the problems in work culture, he said while the nation had the capability of sending ‘mangalyaan’ (Mars mission) in nine months, on the other hand, a rail track project had been pending for over four decades, leading to disappointment among the people over the situation.
He said his government has put the decision-making on the fast-track.
Concluding his speech, he called for a ‘new India’ where the poor would have houses and access to water and electricity; where farmers would be free from worry and would earn twice of what they earn today; youth and women would get ample opportunities to fulfil their dreams.
Also an India which will be free from terrorism, communalism, casteism, corruption and nepotism and an India which is clean and healthy, he said.