NEW DELHI -- The leaders of India and Pakistan amplified their rhetoric over the divided region of Kashmir in Independence Day speeches this week, portending higher tensions following Delhi's revocation of the Indian-controlled side's long-held autonomy.
In his 92-minute speech here Thursday marking the anniversary of independence from British colonial rule, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no direct mention of Pakistan, which has denounced Delhi's move on Kashmir.
But he justified the decision, saying the autonomy had "aggravated separatism and given birth to terrorism," as well as "strengthened the foundations of corruption." Delhi has long accused Pakistan of promoting terrorism.
This followed a warning from Modi's Pakistani counterpart over Kashmir, a flashpoint in relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
"This is my message to you: you take action and every brick will be countered with a stone," Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a speech Wednesday marking Pakistan's Independence Day.
"The army is prepared; not just the army but the entire nation will fight alongside our military," Khan said, according to local media.
Modi, whose Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won spring legislative elections by a wide margin, also revealed plans for a military reorganization to create a central body to coordinate India's army, navy and air force.
"Today we are emphasizing peace and security along with development," he said.
Modi touted the ending of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, which had been guaranteed under India's constitution, as a significant achievement.
"The work that was not done in the last 70 years has been accomplished within 70 days after this new government came to power," he said.
Tensions flared in military action over the region in February, when India conducted airstrikes on the Pakistani side in response to a suicide bombing targeting Indian troops.
India and Pakistan have fought over Kashmir since the partitioning of India when it gained independence in 1947. They went to war over the disputed territory in 1965 and again in 1971.