Addressing the nation on 67th Independence Day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh touched on a number of key issues from ranging from Uttarakhand disaster to the country's current economic status.
Here is the full text of the Prime Minister's speech:
My dear fellow citizens, Brothers, sisters and dear children, I greet you all on this Independence Day.
Today is certainly a day of joy for us. But on this celebration of independence we also feel pain in our hearts that our brothers and sisters in Uttarakhand had to face devastation about two months back. Our deepest sympathies are with all the families that suffered loss of life or property. I want to assure the people of Uttarakhand today that the whole country stands with them in this moment of crisis. Our government is working with all the resources at its command to rehabilitate those whose houses have been destroyed and rebuild damaged infrastructure.
Our army, paramilitary forces and numerous officers and staff of the Central and State governments worked in difficult conditions in partnership with the common people to perform an outstanding task in providing relief to those who were stranded. We especially pay homage to the officers and men of the Air Force, ITBP and NDRF who sacrificed their lives to save others.
We are also deeply pained that we lost the submarine, INS Sindurakshak in an accident yesterday.† Eighteen brave sailors are feared to have lost their lives.† The accident is all the more painful because the Navy had recently achieved two major successes in the form of its first nuclear submarine, INS Arihant and the aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.
We pay homage to the brave hearts we have lost.† We also congratulate the Navy on its successes.
Brothers and Sisters, We achieved independence in 1947 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. If we look at our subsequent journey, we would find that our country has seen major changes every ten years.
In the decade beginning 1950, India took its first steps as a democratic republic under the leadership of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. We established institutions like the Atomic Energy Commission, Planning Commission and Election Commission, which went on to make a major contribution to the processes of nation building in later years. The first general elections were conducted and a beginning was made towards the formulation of the First Five Year Plan for socio-economic development of the country.
In the sixties, Pandit Nehru