Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag at Delhi’s Red Fort on Saturday and delivered a speech on the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day. The prime minister paid tributes to freedom fighters and praised health workers for their fight against the coronavirus crisis.
Modi added that self-reliance must be the mantra of Independent India and said that Covid-19 was not a hurdle big enough to impede the country’s “self-reliant growth”.
This year’s Independence Day celebrations was scaled down due to coronavirus risks. Only those invited attended the celebration at Red Fort and maintained physical distancing rules. School children did not participate in the event.
Multi-layered security arrangements and physical distancing measures were in place for the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort. National Security Guard snipers and Special Weapons And Tactics commandos were in position as Modi delivered his address. Around 4,000 more security personnel were deployed at the Red Fort.
Here are the live updates from the speech:
1 pm: Read our coverage of Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address here:
- ‘Self-reliant India’, efforts to develop coronavirus vaccine: Key points in PM Modi’s I-Day address
- Independence Day: Every village will have optic fibre network in 1,000 days, says Modi
- Independence Day: Modi launches National Digital Health Mission, all Indians to get a health ID
- I-Day: From LoC to LAC, soldiers gave befitting replies to challenges to our sovereignty, says Modi
- Independence Day: PM Modi asks Indians to adopt ‘vocal for local’, pushes for a self-reliant nation
- I-Day speech: Coronavirus not a big enough hurdle to hamper self-reliant India’s growth, says Modi
12.03 pm: President Ram Nath Kovind pays tribute at the National War Memorial on Independence Day. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Indian Air Force chief RKS Bhadauria are present.
11.54 am: Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong tweets: “Congratulations to the Indian government and people on Independence Day 2020. Wish China and India, two great nations with ancient civilisation prosper together in peace and develop with closer partnership.”
9 am: Modi ends his speech.
8.59 am: “Today India has made the impossible possible in extraordinary times,” Modi says. “With this will, every Indian has to move forward. The year 2022, the 75 year festival of our independence, is just about to arrive.”
8.58 am: The prime minister says Covid-19 is not a hurdle big enough to hamper India’s self-reliant growth.
8.56 am: The National Cadet Corps will choose 1 lakh cadets from the coastal and border areas and one-third of them will be female cadets, Modi says.
8.50 am: “In the next 1,000 days, Lakshadweep will also be connected to submarine optical fiber cable,” Modi says.
8.47 am: The prime minister thanks all countries that extended their help in India’s fight against the coronavirus.
8.42 am: The prime minister says that India’s soldiers gave a befitting reply to any threats to the country’s sovereignty. “From LoC [Line of Control] to LAC [Line of Actual Control], anyone who has raised eyes on the sovereignty of the country, the country, the army of the country has given a befitting reply to it,” he adds.
8.37 am: Modi says the true strength of democracy is in local units. “It is a matter of pride for all of us that the representatives of the local units in Jammu and Kashmir are leading a new era of development with activism and sensitivity,” he says.
8.35 am: “Every test of yours, every disease, when and which kind of medicines doctors gave you, your reports, all this information will be contained in this one health ID,” Modi says.
8.34 am: “Another big campaign is going to start in the country from today,” says Modi. “This is the National Digital Health Mission. National Digital Health Mission will bring a new revolution in India’s health sector.”
8.32 am: The prime minister speaks about the new National Education Police. He says education plays an important part in the “new India”. “...we have introduced the National Education Policy, which will help our children grow and be equipped for global competition,” he says.
8.24 am: “Online classes have become a culture amid the coronavirus crisis,” PM Modi says.
8.22 am: PM Modi says the New Education Policy will ensure that Indian students stay rooted in their culture but also become global citizens.
8.21 am: Modi says the government is making home loans cheaper and reducing GST tax rates to benefit middle-class families.
8.18 am: Modi says doctors, lawyers and other professionals from middle class families are making their mark in the whole world. “The middle class is capable of miracles,” Modi says.
8.15 am: Modi says self-reliant farmers and workers are the government’s priority.
8.14 am: “Many areas of the country have also lagged behind in terms of development,” the prime minister says. “By choosing more than 110 such aspirational districts, special efforts are being made there so that people of the country get better education, better health facilities, better employment opportunities.”
8.11 am: Modi says India saw an 18% rise in foreign direct investments over the last one year. “Investment is pouring into India even amid the coronavirus crisis,” he says.
8.09 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says India’s agricultural sector has also been freed from bondage.
8.07 am: Modi says that there are several challenges for India to become self-dependent, but the country also has “130 crore solutions”.
8.03 am: “We also need to focus on Make for the World,” PM Modi says.
7.59 am: “We have started manufacturing ventilators and PPE kits,” PM Modi says. “India is better placed to help the world.” PM adds that “vocal for local” must become a mantra for Indians.
7.55 am: Modi says India must stop exporting raw material and importing finished goods. “We have to be self reliant.” Modi adds that India is attaining self-dependence in space and energy sectors.
7.53 am: Modi says India has a duty to the world. “We have to work for the betterment of the world. We have to be capable enough.”
7.51 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says “atma nirbharta” or self-dependence is necessary. “It has become a mantra for every Indian. The country will fulfill this dream for sure.”
7.46 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says India’s “sons and daughters” made huge sacrifices for freedom.
7.42 am: Modi says that the Centre and the states will unite to fight floods, landslides and the health crisis.
7.40 am: Modi says India’s ‘corona warriors’ have served the people with utmost devotion. “I salute them for their contribution,” says PM Modi.
7.39 am: The prime minister salutes the country’s security forces and freedom fighters.
7.37 am: Modi opens his speech by wishing people on Independence Day.
7.33 am: Modi unfurls the national flag.
7.31 am: Guests at the event are seen wearing masks and sitting far apart.
7.30 am: Watch Independence Day celebrations live.
7.28 am: This is Modi’s seventh consecutive Independence Day address.
7.26 am: The prime minister inspects the Guard of Honour.
7.19 am: The prime minister pays tribute at the Raj Ghat, reports ANI.
7.10 am: Multi-layered security arrangements and physical distancing measures are in place for the 74th Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort, reports PTI. National Security Guard snipers and SWAT commandos will be in position as Modi delivers his address. Around 4,000 more security personnel will be at the Red Fort.
7.09 am: Security and temperature checks being done at the Red Fort.
7.08 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets people on Independence Day. “Happy Independence Day to all fellow Indians,” he tweets.
7.05 am: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that India will give a befitting reply in case a country attacks. He said the country believes in winning hearts and not land “but it does not mean we will let our self-esteem be hurt”, reports PTI.
7.03 am: A Jammu and Kashmir Police constable and an Indian Air Force pilot are among 84 security officials, who will receive top gallantry awards from President Ram Nath Kovind, reports Hindustan Times, citing a government release.
7.02 am: The Aam Aadmi Party-led government has invited seven “corona warriors” for its Independence Day event to laud their hard work in the fight against the pandemic, reports ANI.
7 am: Central Reserve Police Force officer Naresh Kumar was awarded a gallantry medal on Friday for leading soldiers in an operation that led to the deaths of three militants who attacked a security camp near the Srinagar airport in 2017, reports PTI. This was Kumar’s seventh reward in the last four years.