A self-reliant India is also a friend of the world: PM

A self-reliant India is also a friend of the world: PM Modi

Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI.

PM Narendra Modi has asserted that his government’s call for making India ‘Atmanirbhar’ is not a move aimed at dominance, but rather at dependability and looking out for the world, and that a self-reliant India is also a friend to the world.

In an interview with the The Economic Times, the Prime Minister detailed his government’s tackling of the Covid-19 situation.

Admitting that the assessment of the Covid-19 situation depends on the numbers, Modi said the the country’s fight against the virus should be assessed based on how many lives were saved.

The virus is proving to be very fickle, the prime minister said, citing examples of cases in Gujarat, Kerala and Karnataka, and stated that there cannot be any complacency in the fight against the disease.

Read | Covid-19 casts shadow on Kerala's festive season

India went into a cautious zone ahead of major festivals, anticipating a spike like in the case of Kerala after Onam. Union Minister Harsh Vardhan urged people to follow protocols and stay in. The Kolkata HC even clamped down Durga Puja festivities, not allowing visitors inside pandals.

The prime minister defended the government’s strategy for the lockdown, saying they got the broad timing of various phases of the lockdown and the unlock processes correct, and the result of that is the economy slowly going back on track.However, the timing of India’s lockdown and subsequent unlocking has been under criticism by economists and health experts alike who believe India went into lockdown too early and reopened itself too soon. The world’s biggest lockdown that resulted in the exodus of migrants and job losses has been penalised for being improperly handled and poorly managed.

Read | Why Modi’s still so popular even as India fails to fight coronavirus

On the issue of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Modi emphasised that India does not believe in gaining from other countries’ losses, and will be a global manufacturing hub on its own merit.

The PM’s initiative of Atmanirbhar Bharat is often seen as a counter against China, against whom the country has been involved in a standoff owing to military tensions in Ladakh after a scuffle broke out betwen the two sides, killing 20 Indian soldiers. China, which supplies raw materials and finished goods to several industries globally, has already been engaged in an offensive with the United States over trade relations. India too banned apps and some imports from China following military tensions and ramped up its own production in order to be less reliant on China and be 'Atmanirbhar'.

PM Modi, however, said that the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat is not to become an alternative to another country. He cited examples of progress in the pharma and healthcare sectors, such has the greater contribution to the global pharma supply chain and increased manufacturing of ventilators. Earlier, PM Modi had said that India would provide all assitance to other nations in the development and distribution of vaccines. Modi also said that the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign does not refer to India becoming self-centred, but rather to unlocking India’s potential so that its firms can serve global markets.

Read | Long due labour reforms to ensure well-being of workers, give boost to economic growth: PM Narendra Modi

Asserting that everyone will be vaccinated once a Covid-19 vaccine arrives in the market. He said that a national expert group has been constituted to chart the way forward in the vaccination drive against the disease.

Hailing his government’s measures, he said that it was not just a matter of saving 130 crore lives from the pandemic but also to ensure that the poor got enough food and essentials, which was the aim of the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.

Modi also defended the labour reforms, calling them pro-worker, and said that it will help create significant employment and protect the workers by ensuring minimum wage reforms and provisions for social security for the informal sector, while minimising governmental interference.