Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday unfurled the tricolour at the Red Fort to mark the 75th anniversary of the Azad Hind government formed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Donning a cap identified with Bose, Modi also sought to send a message that he has been walking the path shown by Netaji by strengthening the defence forces and hit out at the Congress for ignoring the contribution of other freedom fighters in its quest to “promote one family”.
“I can say this with confidence that post-independence had the country received the guidance of personalities such as Sardar Patel and Subhas Babu, if there had not been a western vision of India, the situation would have been quite different today,” Modi said.
Modi said Netaji had dreamt of a nation where everyone had equal rights and equal opportunities, a nation that was proud of its traditions.
“Even after so many years those dreams remain unfulfilled,” the prime minister said.
Modi said in the last four years, his government had taken several steps to equip the armed forces with modern weaponry and technologies.
“The government has the strength to take tough decisions and will continue to do so,” he said.
"We gained independence after countless sacrifices. Netaji said we have to achieve independence through guns and blood. He said after we achieve independence, we will need a robust defence force, today I am proud to announce that this dream of a strong defence force has been realised," Modi said.
Modi recalled that Bose had established the Azad Hind government in 1943 and even had its own bank, currency, postage stamp and even an intelligence agency.
Modi’s hoisting of the tri-colour at the Red Fort, where soldiers of the Azad Hind Fauj faced public trials is seen as an attempt by the BJP to stake claim to the legacy of Bose, a Congress leader who charted a different path following differences with Mahatma Gandhi.