NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday unfurled the national flag at the Red Fort for the fifth successive year on the 61 st Independence Day.

( Watch ) The Prime Minister started the day by visiting Rajghat to pay tribute to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The unfurling of the tricolour was synchronised with the 21 gun salute fired by the valiant gunners of the elite 299 Field Regiment. Wishing the nation on its 61 st Independence Day, the prime minister said that today is a day to remember those who protect us.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the 17th century monument amidst impregnable security, the Prime Minister called for people to unite for the development of the country. Voicing concern over violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned that dividing people in the name of religion could pose a threat to the unity of the country and asked all political parties to come together to resolve issues related to Amarnath land row through dialogue.

Stating the need to further strengthen intelligence agencies and police forces in the country to deal with terrorism, Dr Singh said, "We will not be able to pursue the peace initiatives with Pakistan if the issue of terrorism is not addressed."

"Recent blast in Indian Embassy at Kabul has cast a shadow over efforts to normalise relations with Pakistan," he said. He said he had personally conveyed his "concern and disappointment" to Pakistan over the Kabul embassy attack.

Singh made it clear that Pakistan would have to end cross-border terrorism, saying without the issue being addressed "all the good intentions that we have for our two peoples to live in peace and harmony will be negated. "We will not be able to pursue the peace initiatives we want to take. The terrorists and those who support them are enemies of people of India and Pakistan, of friendship between the two countries and of peace in the region and the world. We must defeat them." Singh said India was seeking a peaceful, stable and prosperous neighbourhood and its foreign policy is based on these principles.

"We wish all our neighbours well." The Prime Minister noted that his government had strengthened relations with major powers and other countries of the world and said these efforts would continue, keeping in view the country's interests. Amid growing inflation, the PM said that the government was determined to bring prices under reasonable control. Government is trying its best to control inflation, he said.

Announcing the Sixth Pay Commission, the PM said that the government has completed examination of Sixth Pay Commission report and gone beyond its recommendations in increasing emoluments of its employees. PM Manmohan also said that investment in agriculture has increased. “We have invested 25,000 crore in agriculture”, he added. Concerned about the unemployment in India, the Prime Minister said, “increase in employment is our new slogan”