India can defend itself from anyone who seeks “to act against our country”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an Independence Day speech on Tuesday amid a tense standoff with Beijing over a Himalayan plateau.

“Security is our top priority,” Modi said in a speech before thousands at the landmark Red Fort in New Delhi as the country marked the 70th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule.

“Be it the sea or the borders, cyber or space ─ in all spheres, India is capable and we are strong enough to overcome those who try to act against our country,” the Hindu nationalist leader declared.

His remarks came as New Delhi's dispute with Beijing over a strategically key Himalayan plateau enters its second month on Wednesday, with hundreds of soldiers reported to be facing off against each other.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspects a guard of honour during the country's 71st Independence Day celebrations, which marks the 70th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule, at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi.

The giant neighbours share a long history of mistrust and went to war in 1962 over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and are still embroiled in a dispute over the territory.

India's border row with Pakistan over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir has been going on since the split in 1947, with recent Line of Control ceasefire violations escalating tensions between the two neighbours.