Addressing the nation on the 67th Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, the Prime Minister said that terrorist and Naxal violence in the country have reduced, but the area of national security calls for constant vigil.

India, he said, has strived for friendship with its neighboring countries. "However, for relations with Pakistan to improve it is essential they prevent the use of their territory and territory under their control for any anti-India activity," he said.

Referring to the August 6 killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistan Army in a cross-LoC attack in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, he termed it as a ‘dastardly’ act and said "We will take all possible steps to prevent such incidents in the future."

In his 30-minute speech, Singh also appeared to target the BJP and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, saying there was no place for ‘narrow and sectarian ideologies’ in modern, progressive and secular India.

 He warned such ideologies will ‘divide’ society and ‘weaken our democracy.’ We should prevent them from growing," he said.

Singh, in his 10th consecutive Independence Day address and his last before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, stressed that there was a need to strengthen secular traditions to promote tolerance.

"I would appeal to all political parties, all sections of our society and public at large to work in this direction," he said.

Narrow, sectarian ideologies will weaken democracy: PM
    
New Delhi: In an apparent attack on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday warned that ‘narrow and sectarian ideologies’ would ‘weaken’ the democracy and the country and they should be prevented from growing.
    
"There can be no place for narrow and sectarian ideologies in a modern, progressive and secular country. Such ideologies divide our society and weaken our democracy. We should prevent them from growing," he said in his 10th consecutive speech on the Independence Day from the Red Fort.
    
In his 30-minute speech, the PM did not make any direct reference to Modi but apparently was referring to him only.
    
The Prime Minister said that there is a ‘need to strengthen those traditions of our country which teach us to promote tolerance and respect for thought processes different from ours.’
    
"I would appeal to all political parties, all sections of our society and the public at large to work in this direction," he said.
    
Manmohan Singh said that despite some worrisome communal incidents in 2012 and this year, the last 9 years have been good for communal harmony.

BIMARU states are progressing, says PM
    
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that rural per capita consumption has increased four times faster than earlier due to enhanced economic prosperity in rural areas and BIMARU states have witnessed progress.
    
"Many states which had been considered backward for a long time, with some of them being called BIMARU are now progressing," Singh said in his Independence Day address to the nation.
    
The BIMARU states are four northern Indian states - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. The term BIMARU was used to describe the state of economy in these states.
    
Several studies, including those from the UN, showed that the performance of the BIMARU states affected the GDP growth rate of India. Some of these states are also being affected by the Naxal menace and also a part of the Red Corridor.
    
However, since some of these states have now started to advance faster, the concept of BIMARU is starting to become outdated.
     
"We now see clear indications of enhanced economic prosperity in our rural areas. During the period 2004-11, rural per capita consumption has increased four times faster than earlier," the Prime Minister said
    
Referring to MNREGA, the UPA's flagship programme, Singh said, "Rural wages have also increased much faster in this period (2004-11). MNREGA provides employment to crores of
people in rural areas,"
    
In his 30-minute speech, the Prime Minister invoked the legacy of Nehru and the Gandhis and the contribution of the Congress party to the country.

(Agencies)

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