India is facing a big challenge over the coronavirus outbreak, but the resilience and aspirations of the people have ensured that the country is holding its own, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday. Delivering the keynote address at India-US Strategic Partnership Forum, the Prime Minister gave a detailed account of how the country is gaining ground in the battle with the pandemic as well as advancing in other areas.
Over the last months, the country has "battled floods, two cyclones and locust attacks, apart from Covid," the Prime Minister said, adding. "This has made our people stronger."
Today, the country has enough capacity for Intensive Care Units and more, PM Modi said. "We are the second largest PPE kit manufacturers in the world. From one coronavirus testing lab in January, we now have 1,600 labs across the country," he added at the forum, which over the coming days, will navigate new challenges and work at enhancing the economic and strategic partnership between the US and India.
As India shot to an all-time high in the daily spike in coronavirus cases with the detection of more than 83,883 cases over the last 24 hours, the Prime Minister pointed out that the county of 1.3 billion people and limited resources, has one of the lowest death rates and a rising recovery rate.
As at the India Ideas Summit in July, he pointed to the country as an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment, showcasing "far reaching" reforms that have made "business easier and red-tapism lesser".
Pitching India as an "active manufacturing hub at the heart of global value chains," he said the country has become an attractive business destination for its affordability of geography, reliability and policy stability, a low and transparent tax regime.
Alongside, he also flagged the big strides in infrastructure development -- the world's largest housing program, renewable energy infrastructure, rail, road and air connectivity, and a unique digital model to build a national digital health mission.
"We are using the best of fin-tech to provide banking, credit, digital payments and insurance to millions. All these initiatives are being taken using world-class technology and global best practices," he said.
Two days ago, the country reported its worst GDP contraction in decades -- 23.9 per cent in the April-June period. Monday's reading - which fully captured the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on economic and business activity - is in stark contrast with expansion of 3.1 per cent in the previous quarter, and 5.2 per cent in the quarter ended June 30, 2019.