Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his speech during the country's Independence Day, August 15, 2017, New Delhi. (Photo by AFP)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has voiced his country’s readiness to defend itself against foreign threats amid border tensions with neighboring China and Pakistan.
In an Independence Day speech on Tuesday, Modi said India can defend itself from anyone who seeks “to act against our country.”
“Security is our top priority,” Modi said in his speech before thousands of people who had gathered at the landmark Red Fort in New Delhi to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule.
“Be it the sea or the borders, cyber or space -- in all spheres, India is capable and we are strong enough to overcome those who try to act against our country,” the premier said.
The remarks come amid a tense standoff with China over the Doklam Plateau in the Himalaya mountain range, which also involves New Delhi’s close ally, Bhutan.
The dispute broke out on June 18 when Chinese troops started to build a road on territory that it disputes with Bhutan. New Delhi’s troops moved in to stop the construction.
Indian PM Narendra Modi delivers his speech to schoolchildren gathered at the Red Fort in New Delhi to celebrate Independence Day, August 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
India claims that it is legally obliged to aid Bhutan against what it calls China's advances into the disputed territory.
There have been concerns over a possible conflict in the region between India and China, which have a long history of territory disputes.
India is also mired in a border dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. Both countries claim the disputed territory in full but control only parts of it.
New Delhi has deployed hundreds of thousands of troops to maintain security in the Muslim-majority region, where many oppose Indian rule.
Militant forces, backed by the locals, have fought in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989, demanding independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the clashes.

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