Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected modesty and said his country had saved “all mankind from a great tragedy” by fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking by videoconference during the virtual edition of the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), the ultranationalist leader promised to deliver vaccines to the world “faster and on a much larger scale” than the 2 million doses exported until now.
They were part of a batch ordered by Brazil and had a delay in delivery.
“India has managed to save so many lives, we have saved all mankind from a great tragedy. India has launched the world’s largest vaccination program and has already vaccinated over 2.3 million health workers in the past 12 days, “said.
India’s plan is to reach 300 million people, including health workers, the elderly and people with co-morbidities, in eight months. The country has an installed capacity: it produces around 60% of the world’s vaccines, has developed its own immunizers against Covid-19 and is a partner of AstraZeneca / Oxford University.
As might be expected, Modi ignored in his speech the difficulties that the immunization program faces and made geopolitical propaganda about his work.
“Some people said we would have 2 million dead,” he said. In fact, after September, the country was able to reasonably control the pandemic with a series of measures such as lockdowns.
It was not a Chinese success, but even today India has 111 deaths per million population, almost ten times fewer than Brazil. Nominally, because of its population of 1.3 billion, it ranks second in terms of number of cases: 10.7 million, behind the Americans and ahead of the Brazilians.
“It is not appropriate to compare successes. Our success will help the world,” he said, even announcing traditional Hindu medicine, Ayurveda, as being essential for “increasing immunity”.
Ultra-nationalist criticized for his positions in favor of his country’s Hindu majority, Modi defended what he called “self-sufficiency committed to global good and global production chains”.
On the virtual platform, he did not raise the dispute with neighboring China, which left dozens of people dead last year in skirmishes at the borders, increasing tensions with the Asian rival.
Modi approached Donald Trump and his Cold War 2.0 against Beijing, in an effort to counter Chinese influence in Asia.
He also didn’t talk about the conflict with Pakistan, an Islamic country born off a coast of former British India and a bitter rival to New Delhi.
He focused on selling Indian advancements to India also on the pillars of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, “connectivity, automation, artificial intelligence and real-time data”.
He cited the success of serving 700 million people with India’s version of the Emergency Pandemic Assistance Program thanks to the implementation of a national digital identity system years ago. .