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“It is not right in God’s sight to obey men rather than God.”

Narendra Modi urges people to build a new and clean India

NEW DELHI: In his maiden Independence Day address as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi urged people to work for a new and clean India by shedding the ‘poison’ of communalism and making the country the world’s manufacturing hub.

Addressing tens of thousands of cheering people gathered on the Red Fort complex in the morning, Modi spoke for over an hour, focussing mainly on nation building and underlining the need to forge national consensus on major issues.

In the process, Modi, 63, who took charge of India on May 26, outlined his vision for the country, frankly admitting the faults within and calling on neighbouring countries to team up with India to battle poverty.

He also announced a burial of the Planning Commission, saying it was not needed any more. He said a new institution will take its place. For the first time in years, there was no reference to Pakistan in the Independence Day address. Indeed, he made no mention to any other country except neighbouring Bhutan and Nepal which he recently visited.

Indians, he said, needed to give up the ‘poison’ of casteism and communalism and added it was a shame that these plagued India even so many years after independence. “How long will this continue?” he asked, sounding emotive. “We have fought enough, we have killed enough. Turn back and see has anyone gained anything?”

He said decades of bloodshed had caused deep wounds to ‘Bharat Mata’, adding there should be no violence for 10 years. Modi reached the 17th century Red Fort after paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat.

Before beginning the speech, Modi - in a departure from convention - took salute from the armed forces. He spoke mostly extempore, occasionally looking down for a peek at his notes. Asking the world to “Come, Make in India!”, Modi urged global investors to make this country a manufacturing hub.

“I tell the world, Make in India! Sell anywhere, but manufacture here. We have the skill and talent.” He said it should be every Indian's dream to see Made in India products around the world -- green-friendly and with zero defects.