Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh marked the 62nd anniversary of the
country's independence Saturday by pledging to root out terrorism and
revive India's economy.
During a ceremony at the historic Red Fort in the capital New Delhi,
Mr. Singh told onlookers the government has taken steps to eradicate
terrorism. And while he did not mention rival Pakistan by name, Mr.
Singh said India wants to live in peace with its neighbors.
The Independence Day celebrations are the first since the deadly terror
attacks in Mumbai last November, and come as India is trying to contain
the spread of the deadly H1N1 swine flu virus.
During Saturday's speech, Mr. Singh also pledged to crack down on
Maoist insurgents who have mounted several attacks on security forces
in eastern India.
The prime minister said one of India's biggest challenges is the
economy. He promised to help improve the country's economic growth rate
and to protect farmers and poor people from the specter of a widespread
Security across India was tight Saturday.
Helicopters and sniffer dogs patrolled the site of the festivities in
New Delhi. Officials said many states had been asked to bolster their
In Indian-controlled Kashmir, separatists marked India's independence
anniversary with a strike, shutting down portions of the Himalayan
valley. On Friday, police in Kashmir fired tear gas canisters to
break-up anti-India protests.
Islamic separatists in Kashmir have been fighting to merge with
Pakistan or to establish an independent homeland for two decades.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement Friday
commemorating the sacrifices Indians made to gain their independence
and establish a democracy.
More report from our Kolkata reporter , Pramashish Ghosh Roy