Modi sent shockwaves through the region last Monday when thousands of Indian troops poured into the disputed Kashmir region following the revocation of Article 370 of the constitution. It meant Kashmir’s special status as an autonomous region ended, with many nations condemning New Delhi for the ensuing repression. The Indian leader continued to defend the decision today as he claimed it helped unify the whole country.
In a speech given on India’s Independence Day, Modi proclaimed: “In the past 70 years, the existed system in Jammu and Kashmir encouraged terrorism, nepotism, corruption.
“It deprived the disadvantaged section of the society, including women, children, and tribals equal rights.
“India will continue to fight against terrorism and expose those who support or export terror. Terrorism is against humanity.”
The speech was Modi’s sixth consecutive Independence Day, having been re-elected for his second term in May.
Modi defended his decision to revoke Article 370
India have been cracking down on protests
He spoke about the importance of India becoming ‘one’ – whether it be for taxes, transport or elections.
The revocation of Article 370 transformed Kashmir into a ‘union territory’ which is directly governed by India.
This has been soundly rejected by the majority of Kashmiris, who are keen to maintain their independence.
Mass protests in the street have been put down by some 43,000 Indian troops now stationed in the region.
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Modi gave his sixth Independence Day speech
However, this did not put off the Indian Prime Minister from justifying the decision.
He added: “Those who supported Article 370, India is asking them – if this was so important and life-changing, why was this article not made permanent?
“One Nation, One Constitution – this spirit has become a reality and India is proud of that.”
The BJP leader went on to praise his own party for carrying through the move in such a short time.
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Indians have celebrated the decision
Imran Khan compared Modi to Hitler
The speech came hours after his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan delivered a scathing criticism of New Delhi.
Warning of imminent conflict, he said: “I am telling Narendra Modi that if you try a skirmish, we will respond tenfold.
“Hitler had arrogance and Modi’s arrogance is no different. But history has shown that Hitler was destroyed, Napoleon was destroyed.
“War is never the solution; it leads to multiple other conflicts.”
He also claimed that India had a plan to carry out a land grab on Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.
Comparing India and Pakistan’s arsenals
India’s move has also risked relations with powerful regional players.
China were the first to reject last week’s move, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying saying: “We urge India to exercise prudence in words and deeds concerning the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements concluded between the two sides and avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question.”
However, Russia, after recently floating the idea of an arms deal with New Delhi, appeared to back India last night as they refused to become involved.
A spokesperson said: “There is no alternative to resolve differences between Pakistan and India except bilaterally through political and diplomatic means.
“Representatives of Russia to the UN adhere to this consistent position.”
Pakistan celebrates Independence Day
The Kashmiri crisis came about just a few weeks after Imran Khan’s appeal to Trump last month to help resolve the crisis, which drew ire from Modi’s administration.
Kashmir has been partitioned between Islamabad and New Delhi for years, with clashes along the ‘Line of Control’ commonplace.
The crisis has sparked fears of war between the two nations.