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PM targets Pakistan, Modi in I-Day speech

PM targets Pakistan, Modi in I-Day speech
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that anti-India activities emanating from Pakistan will have to stop for relations to improve and asserted all steps will be taken to prevent ‘dastardly’ acts like the recent killing of jawans on the LoC.

Addressing the nation on the 67th Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, the prime minister said terrorist and naxal violence in the country have reduced but there should be constant vigil. Singh was delivering his tenth address in a row from the Red Fort. India, he said, has strived for friendship with its neighbouring countries. ‘However, for relations with Pakistan to improve it is essential they prevent the use of their territory and territory under their control for any anti-India activity,’ he said.

He termed the 6 August killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistan Army a dastardly act and said India will take all possible steps to prevent such incidents in the future. In his 30-minute speech, Singh also appeared to target the BJP and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, saying there was no place for narrow and sectarian ideologies in modern, progressive and secular India. He warned such ideologies will divide society and weaken our democracy. ‘We should prevent them from growing,’ he said.

He began his address expressing anguish over the loss of life in Uttarakhand during the flash floods and the possible death of 18 sailors in the explosion which took place onboard the Navy’s frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak in an accident in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Targeting youth, the prime minister said a new scheme in skill development programme will be launched to benefit a million young men and women in a year. Highlighting programme, he said, ‘We have established the national skill development authority a few months back. We will shortly launch a new scheme under which those who have successfully acquired new skills will be given a grant of about Rs 10,000. This scheme will benefit about 10 lakh young men and women in the next 12 months.’

Singh, in his last address before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, exuded confidence that the country will be able to achieve higher economic growth despite recent slow down due to global recession. He pointed out that in the last nine years the country’s economy has grown at an annual average of 7.9 per cent which is the highest in any decade so far.

Talking at length about the achievements of the UPA government in the last nine years, the prime minister expressed hope that the food security bill will be approved in the current session of Parliament.

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