The Independence Day of 2019 is the 6th Independence Day Narendra Modi spoke on the rampart of the Red Fort as the Prime Minister of India.
Among many other things PM Modi mentioned in his speech, he said that the dream of ‘one nation – one constitution’ is fulfilled after seventy-plus years of Independence with the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K. He also emphasised that the nation should now start a discussion on ‘one nation – one election’. It is evident that PM Modi has huge respect and admiration for Sardar Patel, the person majorly credited for geographical unification of India soon after the Independence. Now, the Modi government is exhibiting that there are some other forms of unifications that are left to be achieved and they are at it.
Since Independence Day is also meant for celebrating India’s unity, this time around, let’s see how far India has strengthened its position in the recent six years with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm.
Abrogation of Article 370
Within the 75 days of its second term in the government, the Modi government has fulfilled its promise of abrogation Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, which prevented the state from fully integrating with the rest of India. In a historic decision, the Modi government has made the Indian constitution fully applicable to Jammu and Kashmir thereby ending the alienation of Dalits, women, safai karmacharis and labour class who have suffered long due to the discriminatory provision of Article 370. You may read more about the finer points in our article A New Dawn for J&K and Ladakh says PM Modi in His Address to the Nation.
Economic Unification Through GST
The nation remembers Sardar Patel for unifying the country after Independence geographically by acceding various princely states into the Indian union. But the economic unification of India with the motto of ‘one nation, one tax’ was realized only after the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST). Congress too had promised GST implementation long back. But it took Modi government to deliver it on July 2017. You may read more about the progress of this historic decision in our article Two Years of GST: The BIG Reform Continues.
Connectivity – A New Kind of Unification
Having a certain geography under one’s constitution and governance is the first step of unification. Unity among diverse geographical entities with different culture and backgrounds can only be possible through physical connectivity through roads, railways, internet and other types of infrastructure. Connectivity ensures the unity of the nation by bringing prosperity to the region, easing the lives of commons and other means. In the last 6 years, the Modi government’s works in this sphere stand apart.
When it comes to National Highways, the interim budget speech mentioned that India is the fastest builder of highways in the world. Northeast regions of the country are seeing connectivity like never before. Among other things, connectivity also ensures national security by taking developments and governance to violence-affected areas. You may read more about the connectivity revolution in our article Connectivity Revolution – Where Exactly India is Heading?
Unity of National Memory & Emotions
Unity of the nation is also decided by the emotional connect of people with the grand idea of nationalism. Was this not a disappointing fact that until recently India had no National War Memorial to pay respect to its soldier who sacrificed their lives post-Independence? Modi government on February 2019 has delivered on this front by dedicating National War Memorial to the nation. Ever since the Modi government came to power, the memory of national heroes from all walks of life getting renewed. Read our article India Honoring Its Heroes- A New Narrative for New India for more details. The Statue of Unity unveiled in October 2018 is the world’s tallest statue.
Bringing Certain Unity in Global Order
In the last six years, the Modi government’s extensive engagements in the foreign policy sphere have made the world powers to take a united stand in fighting terrorism. The world no longer advises India to observe restraint as seen in the instance of surgical strikes and airstrikes. Recently, Pakistan’s foreign minister admitted before the media that how even the Arab world will not come to support Pakistan against India as these nations have economic ties with India. In a way, the Modi government has strengthened the unity of India with forging various economic ties with other nations. Read our earlier articles, Keeping India’s Energy Interest on Top – How Global Oil Powers are now Listening to India and Two Ports- An Unfolding Story of India’s Global Influence & Connectivity.
Unity Against Enemy
Every government of Independent India did act to secure India against the designs of the enemy. Modi government has been firmer and more specific in this area. It is under Modi government that the decision to sell enemy properties in India materialised with an amendment in 2017. This paved way for monetization of movable enemy property lying dormant for decades. The implementation of NRC to recognise illegal immigrants, a steady decline in Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) related violence and geographical spread of LWE influence, the pre-emptive airstrike inside Pakistan etc showcase government’s hallmark in this sphere.