Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered an Independence Day speech on Thursday that spotlighted a decision to remove the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi talked about his aim to turn India into a $5-trillion economy within five years, by spurring wealth creation, boosting exports and tourism, and spending 100 trillion rupees ($1.4 trillion) on infrastructure.
Modi said special constitutional status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir had encouraged corruption and nepotism, while creating injustice for women, children and minority communities in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Today every Indian can proudly say ‘One Nation, One Constitution’,” Modi, speaking from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort in New Delhi, said of the decision.
He announced the creation of a new post of chief of defence staff to ensure better coordination of India’s army, navy and air force, along the lines of Western military forces. Defence experts have long called for such a post, recommended by a government panel in 1999, after India came close to war with Pakistan over Kashmir.
“To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision … India will have a chief of defence staff,” Modi said.
Modi said he would invest Rs3.6 trillion to improve water infrastructure and pipe clean water to every home. Modi urged a halt to use of single-use plastics, suggesting a phase-out date of October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. – Reuters
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