By Raphael Oni
India’s President Ram Nath Kovind says his country has started providing other countries with its indigenously manufactured Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine as part of its efforts to contain further spread of the virus across the globe.
Kovind said this in his remarks at an event to mark India’s 72nd Independence Anniversary on Tuesday in Abuja. He lauded Indian citizens for their contributions to the country’s economic stability.
It was an evening of surprises as many invited guest turn out as what is called the first official diplomatic outing in 2021 in Abuja as this kind of gathering has been put on hold since the advent of the corona virus.
High Commissioner of India to Nigeria His Excellency Abhay Thakur, who read the speech of President Kovind, said though the coronavirus pandemic had been raging for more than a year now, “India stands not despondent, but confident”.
“The slowdown has turned out to be transitory as the economy has regained its dynamism.
“A self-reliant India has manufactured its own vaccines for COVID-19, and is now undertaking a mass vaccination drive, which will be the largest exercise of its kind in history.
“The administration and health services are working with full readiness to make this exercise a success.
“I urge upon the countrymen to utilise this lifeline and get vaccinated as per guidelines. Your health opens the way for advancement.
“Today, India is being rightly called the pharmacy of the world as we are supplying medicines and other healthcare items to several countries to alleviate people’s sufferings and to contain the pandemic.
“Now, we also provide vaccines to other countries,” Thakur quoted the Indian president as saying.
He said India’s revamping of the economy and the development of its own vaccines would not have been possible without the commitment of its citizens.
He thanked farmers, scientists, healthcare workers, technologists, the military, and teachers for their contributions.
Kovind said that India’s effective response to the pandemic would also not have been possible without the value of fraternity, one of the core values the country’s constitution is hinged on.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi converted a crisis into opportunity when he called on Nirbhar Bharat Abhiya, a self-reliant India Mission, and citizens, especially the youths, to make concerted efforts toward reshaping the future of the country.
The president said the call was in line with the aspiration to shape a new India by 2022 when the country would turn 75.
“This will be a significant milestone in the journey of the nation as we are determined to achieve major goals – from providing pucca houses (the typically made of concrete, stone, clay tiles and/or metal, in contrast to older homes made of mud and organic material) with basic facilities for every family, to doubling the income for farmers.
“In order to build an inclusive society of new India, we are giving special emphasis on education, health, nutrition, upliftment of the under-privileged, and welfare of women,” Kovind added.