This is PM Modi's seventh address to the nation on Independence Day

New Delhi: India's soldiers had given a fitting reply to those who challenged the country's sovereignty "from LoC to LAC", Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said, addressing the nation on its 74th Independence Day.

"From LoC (Line of Control) to LAC (Line of Actual Control), whenever India has been challenged, our soldiers have given a fitting response in a language they understand," said the Prime Minister, in a strong message to both Pakistan and China.

Referring to the clash with China in June at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, in which 20 soldiers died for the country, PM Modi said: "What our Jawans can do, what the country can do, the world has seen in Ladakh. Today, I salute all those brave soldiers from the Red Fort."

Whether it is terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting both, the Prime Minister said.

"Today the world stands with India and to get 184 votes out of 192 nations in the UN for a (non-permanent) seat at the UN Security Council is proof," he said.

PM Modi, wearing a saffron and white Safa and a similar scarf that he used as a mask, addressed the nation from the Red Fort for the seventh consecutive year.

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In the one-hour 26-minute speech, he focused on the themes of "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)", "Vocal for local" and "Make in India to Make for World". He also paid tribute to those on the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus and declared that India had a roadmap ready for the production and distribution of three COVID-19 vaccines that are at various stages of testing.

Without referring to China or Pakistan, the Prime Minister underscored that neighbours were not only those that India shared a border with.

"Today, neighbours are not only those with whom we share our geographical boundaries but also those with whom we share emotions and values. Today, India has close relations in the greater neighbourhood. We are working together and have a lot of mutual respect for each other," he said.

India shares borders with China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Afghanistan.