Prime Minister Narendra Modi today credited India’s unity to first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, saying he played a significant role in bringing the countrymen together after Independence.
"Today, the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is under one flag...its credit goes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel," Modi said, addressing a gathering at the National Stadium on the birth anniversary of the 'Iron Man of India'.
The Prime Minister said the British, before leaving the country in 1947, had ensured that India splits into small states.
"While leaving the country, the British had played politics to divide India into numerous small states, but Sardar Patel made sure that it stays as one nation," he added.
Modi said that every Indian wants to see India as a strong country, and to ensure this the people must stay alert against divisive forces.
"Lots of powers are working to break India. They are trying to create confusions amongst the people. We must stay alert against this," he said, adding that every citizen has to play a role in it.
Saying that the "feeling of 'Bharateeyata' (Indianness) keeps us one", Modi said that unity of the country is very important for it to move forward.
He also inaugurated a digital museum on the life of Sardar Patel and urged people to visit it as and when they find time.
Modi also flagged off a 'Run for Unity' from the stadium.
(With IANS inputs)