India celebrates 75 years of independence, Modi pledges developed nation

India’s efforts have already launched the country of 1.4 billion people into the ranks of leading countries in information technology, pharmacy, space science and civil nuclear energy.

Modi said millions of people across the country were commemorating the 75th anniversary of independence by hoisting orange, white and green national flags at their homes and businesses for three days as part of a government campaign “of awakening the spirit of patriotism in every heart.” India’s Parliament House, the presidential palace, national monuments and other government offices blazed with multi-coloured lighting.

The main opposition Congress party accused the Modi government of leaving opposition parties out of celebrations.

“There were special functions in Parliament’s historic Central Hall to mark the 25th, 50th and 60th anniversary of India’s independence,” said Jairam Ramesh, an India National Congress party spokesperson. “Sadly, nothing like that has been organized for the 75th anniversary, which has been reduced to an occasion to glorify the Sarvagyaani,” using a term meaning “a person who knows all” in reference to Modi.

In his 80-minute speech, Modi made no reference to India’s tense ties with immediate neighbors Pakistan and China, nor any steps to improve relations.

He called for unity to move forward but did not respond to experts and critics who say the country has been gradually departing from some commitments and argue the backsliding has accelerated since Modi came to power in 2014. They accuse his populist government of using unbridled political power to undermine democratic freedoms and preoccupying itself with pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda.

Modi pledged to fight corruption and nepotism in the country’s politics, which he said were acting like termites eating away the gains of development.

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