New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government is committed to taking “big and bold” decisions on country’s security, and that whosoever poses a threat to India’s sovereignty, will be dealt with “double the strength.”
The Prime Minister’s remarks came as he recalled the contribution of the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) in the freedom movement. In a departure from protocol, he hoisted the national flag at the Red Fort to mark the commemoration of 75 years of the establishment of Azad Hind Sarkar, the ‘government of free India.’
Traditionally, the Prime Minister hoists the national flag at the Red Fort on Independence Day. But in a first, Modi did so on Sunday because soldiers of the Indian National Army faced trials by the British at Red Fort.
“This government has the courage to take big and bold decisions. And this will continue in the future too. From surgical strikes to making the Netaji files public and providing ‘one rank one pension’ to the armed forces, the decisions have been made by only our government. The dreams that were envisioned by Netaji have been carried forward only by this government,” he said.
Stressing that India has “never been greedy for somebody else’s land”, Modi said: “The strength of our Army has always been for self- protection and it will remain so in the future too. This has been our history. But whosoever poses a threat to India’s sovereignty will be dealt with double the strength.”
He said several attempts have been made in the past four years to strengthen the Indian Army and the best technology is being made available to it.
The Prime Minister also used the occasion to blame the previous governments for looking at the country with an “English perspective”.
“Had the country been guided by Sardar Patel, Subhash Babu and by those who did not see India through foreign glasses, then the situation would have been different. Just to glorify one family, attempts were made to forget freedom fighters such as Netaji and Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar,” he said in an apparent dig at the Congress.
“Our government is changing this,” he said, insisting that the country’s sovereignty was an important aspect of Bose’s vision.
Modi recalled Bose’s words: “With the power of weapons and sacrifice of blood, you have to achieve freedom and then when the country will be free, you will have to make a steady army for the nation, whose work will be to protect our freedom”.
“Today I can say that India is moving towards the creation of an army that was envisioned by Netaji. ‘Josh, junoon aur jazba’ (passion and enthusiasm) have been parts of our Army for long, but now new techniques, modern weapons and equipment are also being combined,” he said.
The Azad Hind government was raised by Bose during the freedom movement.
Modi said that “even after 70 years of Independence, Netaji’s dreams have not been fulfilled”.
He acknowledged that India has “marched several steps ahead” in the years since Independence but maintained that it was yet to reach new heights of glory.
Modi claimed the NDA government was committed to achieving this goal by going ahead with the vision of a new India “at a time when destructive forces are attacking us”.
This vision of new India, Modi stressed, is in line with what Bose’s thinking.
“It is the duty of every Indian to be inspired by Netaji, to fight such forces, to defeat them, and to contribute to nation-building in their full capacity,” he said, adding India achieved independence after tremendous sacrifices.
The Prime Minister said that Netaji laid down the foundation for equal opportunity for women in armed forces through the formation of Rani Jhansi Regiment.
“The government is carrying forward this legacy. Women will be given equal opportunity in the armed forces,” he said.
Modi also laid the foundation stone for a museum dedicated to the Azad Hind Fauj at the Red Fort.