Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday unfurled the national flag at the Red Fort to mark the 73rd Independence Day.

Delivering his sixth Independence Day address, PM Modi extended greetings to the nation on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan and also expressed his concern for the people in flood-affected areas of the country.

“We stand in solidarity with those who are affected by the floods.”

PM Modi then referred to the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A saying that the new Government, which has not yet completed 10 weeks, has taken a major step towards realizing the dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He also listed out the Centre’s move to criminalise triple talaq and the new welfare schemes for farmers.

Speaking on the formation of ministry for Jal Shakti, Modi said it was created in view of the importance of water conservation. He added that steps have been taken to make the medical sector even more people friendly.

On the Government’s move to scrap triple talaq law, the Prime Minister said, “Remember how scared Muslim women were, those who suffered due to practice of triple talaq, but we ended that. When Islamic nations can ban it then why can’t we? When we can ban Sati, when we can take strong steps against female infanticide, child marriage, then why not this?”

He further lauded the people of the country to have voted BJP to power for the second consecutive term.

He said that his government does not believe in creating problems or dragging them and therefore revoked Article 370 within 70 days of coming to power.

“The old system in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh led to corruption, nepotism but there was injustice when it came to rights of women, children, Dalits, tribal communities.The dreams of sanitation workers were incomplete. How can we accept this?” he asked.

With today’s address, Modi equaled former BJP PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s record of six Independence Day speeches.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. He then drove straight to the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort, where he was greeted by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra.

All major leaders of the country including that of the Opposition are present at the Red Fort.

On arriving at the Red Fort, PM Modi received a Guard of Honour from a contingent of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police. He then unfurled the national flag as a 21 gun-salute greeted the nation.

The Prime Minister earlier in the day greeted the nation tweeting “Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Indians. Jai Hind!” and also wished them on the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

This year’s event marks the participation of 3,500 girl students drawn from 41 government schools in Delhi; 5,000 boy spectators and 700 NCC cadets from 17 schools displaying ‘strength in unity’ through the formation of the words Naya Bharat, a Ministry of Defence statement had earlier said.