“India used to import PPE kits, masks, ventilators and testing kits from outside but today our nation is self-reliant. Now, India is ready to save humanity with two ‘Made in India’ Covid vaccines,” the PM said after inaugurating the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention.
On January 3, two vaccines – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India – were approved for ‘restricted emergency use’.
The Central government plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of drive. It will be offered to one crore healthcare workers, along with 2 crore frontline and essential workers and 27 crore elderly, mostly above the age of 50 years with co-morbidities.
In his address, PM Modi also asserted that if democracy is most strong, vibrant and lively anywhere in the world, it is in India.
“When India got Independence then it was said that such a poor and under-literate country will disintegrate and democracy was impossible here. Today’s truth is that India is united and if democracy is most strong, vibrant and lively anywhere in the world, it is in India,” he said.
Talking about India’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, he said the country is among the nations with the lowest fatality rate and the highest recovery rate.
“Being the pharmacy of the world, India has supplied important medicines to all those in need in the world in the past and is also doing so now. The world is not only waiting for Indian vaccines but is also watching how India runs the world biggest vaccination programme,” he said.
Modi also said that during the pandemic, Indians showed their capabilities and the way the country stood together was unparalleled.
He said India is using technology to defeat corruption and crores of rupees are being directly transferred to beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
“Today we have been connected with the internet from various corners of the world but our minds are always connected with ‘Maa Bharti’,” he said.
“I have had a dialogue with several heads of states who told me how Indian diaspora has extended a helping hand in those countries and provided leadership in extending assistance even in these difficult times,” Modi said.
“This was a matter of pride for me.”
He also lauded the Indian diaspora for providing assistance in the battle against coronavirus in India.
Modi told the Indian diaspora that the country always stands with them and pointed out that over 45 lakh people were rescued under the government’s Vande Bharat mission during the pandemic.
PBD convention is the flagship event of the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and provides an important platform to engage and connect with overseas Indians, according to an official release.
In view of the sentiments of the vibrant diaspora community, the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is being organised on January 9, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
President of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, is the chief guest of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention.
The convention is being held in a virtual format, as were the PBD conferences held recently in the run-up to the convention. The theme of the 16th PBD convention 2021 is “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.
(With inputs from agencies)