Left Menu
Development News Edition

India's Modi trumpets Kashmir, Muslim marriage moves in Independence Day speech

Reuters | New Delhi | Updated: 15-08-2019 19:05 IST | Created: 15-08-2019 18:48 IST
India's Modi trumpets Kashmir, Muslim marriage moves in Independence Day speech
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on Thursday. (ANI/Photo) Image Credit: ANI

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered an Independence Day speech on Thursday that spotlighted a decision to remove the special rights of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir among the bold moves of the first 10 weeks of his second term.

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. But he did not touch on sagging demand that has hit parts of the economy in recent months, especially the auto sector.

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 India's only majority-Muslim region. "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.

Critics of the policy say it will bring a backlash from Kashmiri Muslims, who had valued the previous ban on non-residents buying property in the state, which is also claimed by Pakistan, and benefited from the reservation of state government jobs for residents. In a clampdown in the region since the Aug. 5 decision, authorities have cut internet and phone links, restricted movement with police roadblocks, and detained more than 500 leaders and activists.


Wearing a flowing bright saffron-colored turban, Modi, who won a landslide election victory in May, also highlighted his government's ban on some Muslim communities' practice of allowing a husband to instantly divorce his wife.

Perhaps his most controversial announcement was the creation of a new post of chief of defense staff to ensure better coordination of India's army, navy and air force, along the lines of Western military forces. Defense 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 defense staff," Modi said. However, he did not address the weakening economy and calls from industry for swift government measures to spur demand.

India's growth rate has fallen to 5.8% for the three months ended March 2019, its lowest in 17 quarters, while research group CMIE estimates the jobless rate rose to 7.51 percent in July from 5.66 percent a year earlier. Modi said he would invest 3.6 trillion rupees to improve water infrastructure and pipe clean water to every home.

Standing below a fluttering Indian flag, Modi urged a halt to use of single-use plastics, suggesting a phase-out date of Oct. 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, regarded as the father of the nation. During the last five years, Modi's government has made it much easier to do business in India, he added, vowing to further streamline government procedure.

More small vendors should accept digital payments, Modi said, returning to a theme first spotlighted in 2016, when his government ordered an overnight ban of high-value banknotes. ($1=71.2700 Indian rupees)

Also Read: Rahul Gandhi speaks to PM Narendra Modi, seeks assistance for flood-hit people of Kerala, including for those in his constituency, Wayanad



Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...


Latest News

Moscow records 29 COVID-19 fatalities in 24 Hours

Moscow Russia, July 11 SputnikANI The Russian capital has recorded 29 COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, which brings the cumulative death toll to 4,116, Moscows coronavirus response center said on Friday.Twenty-nine patients died in...

Jays moving Guerrero Jr. to 1B for 2020

The Toronto Blue Jays will use third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. primarily as a first baseman and designated hitter this season, manager Charlie Montoyo said Friday. Vladdys gonna focus, during this camp, at first base, and were going to ...

ESPN's Wojnarowski apologizes for profane email to Senator

ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski apologized for a profane email response he sent to Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley R on Friday. ESPN reprimanded Wojnarowski for his conduct and termed it as completely unacceptable behavior.Hawley sent a lett...

Brazilian environmentalist Sirkis killed in car crash

Environmentalist Alfredo Sirkis, a founder of Brazils Green Party and a tireless campaigner for policies to curb climate change, died on Friday in a car crash, television network TV Globo said. Sirkis, 69, was killed when the car he was dri...

Give Feedback