New Delhi. No country is as diverse as India is in terms of geography, history, faith, region, languages – you name it.
This makes it incumbent upon the prime minister of the day to utilise the Independence Day to spell out what called as the State of the Nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did that on August 15, the Nation’s 73rd Independence Day.
Coming just 10 days after his government ended the special status of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, there was anxiety about what he would say. He reached out to the people there even as he spelt a tough line against terror and infiltration from Pakistan, but ignoring it by name. This was expected and necessary.
He talked of the security situation and ended a two-decade wait for the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for the armed forces. While details about the appointment are to be worked out over the next couple of months, it may be recalled that a decision had been hanging fire for long, certainly after the Kargil Committee headed by the late K. Subrahmanyam had strongly recommended it almost two decades ago. Subbu Sir, as he was known, was India’s leading strategic thinker, a top official in the government and Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
The modalities of the CDS would need coordination among the three Services and all stakeholders in the security establishment.
The Prime Minister declared his resolve to push India’s economy on way to a $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years.
He also talked of the macroeconomic issues, especially jobs that his government has failed to generate in big numbers. He talked of climate change, touching upon mundane issue like ending the use of plastics even as he committed India to work with the world community.
Without saying it in so many words, Mr Modi was speaking on his time-table of tackling issues at home and his foreign visits -- to Bhutan next door, to UAE and Bahrain in the Middle East, and to France to be with other world leaders at the G-7 Summit.
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