Amid tight security following intelligence alerts, Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday celebrated the nation's 60th independence anniversary with Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy taking the opportunity to highlight the achievements of his government.
A thick security blanket was thrown around Parade Grounds in Secunderabad where the chief minister reviewed a colourful parade by police and witnessed a cultural programme by hundreds of schoolchildren.
More than a dozen armed and civil contingents participated in the parade and various government departments presented tableaux.
Unprecedented security arrangements were made around the venue following a last-minute alert by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) that terrorists could launch suicide strikes on the day.
While armed policemen were deployed around the sprawling ground, bomb disposal squads, sniffer dogs and anti-sabotage teams scoured every inch for any hidden explosives.
Security was also tightened at vital installations, residences and offices of VIPs, IT campuses, shopping malls and commercial complexes following the alert by IB late on Monday.
The intelligence agency had informed various states, including Andhra Pradesh, that a four-member suicide squad of terrorists could launch surprise attacks.
Addressing the gathering, the chief minister, who presented medals to policemen for their meritorious services and bravery, said the state had earned accolades by maintaining law and order, especially with proper handling of Maoist problem.
"The state has become a role model for other states," he said.
The chief minister said his government had adopted a multi-pronged strategy to ensure all round development. He claimed that the government had made considerable progress in putting the rural economy back on rails by taking a series of measures for the welfare of farmers.
"We continue our march to achieve the goal of Harithandhra Pradesh (prosperous state)," he said while highlighting the state's focus on other key areas like IT, industrial development, infrastructure, basic amenities in villages and urban areas, welfare, health and education.
Expressing his sorrow over the recent floods, which claimed 120 lives, he said his government was doing everything to provide succour to the affected people. He announced that the government would strengthen bunds along the Godavari river as part of its long-term measures to prevent recurrence of floods.