Calling India the "Mother of Democracy", Prime Minister Narendra Modi today showcased the country's credentials on this front before the United Nations General Assembly. Speaking at the 76th such gathering in New York, he held forth the example of India's political system empowering people and ensuring "equitable development".
"Yes, democracy can deliver. Yes, democracy has delivered," Prime Minister Modi said emphatically, citing his own 20 years as head of a government -- both as Gujarat Chief Minister and the Indian Premier.
"The strength of our democracy's is demonstrated by the fact that a little boy who used to help his father at a tea stall is addressing the UN General Assembly for the fourth time as Prime Minister of India," he said, once again citing his own example.
He noted that last month, India had entered the 75th year of its Independence, and further burnished the country's democratic traditions saying its diversity was the "identity" of that tradition.
A day earlier, during a meeting with him, US Vice-President Kamala Harris had said, "As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world. And that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home and it is incumbent on our nations to of course protect democracies in the best interests of people of our countries."
Earlier today, PM Modi began the speech by paying tributes to the large number of lives lost since 2019 in the global Covid pandemic.
The Prime Minister returned to the topic a short while after, citing India's ability to develop and manufacture vaccines and the setting up of the Co-WIN platform to streamline the country's ongoing nationwide inoculation drive.
He told the General Assembly that India had resumed the process of providing vaccines to those who need it in the world.
"I'd like to inform the UN General Assembly that India has developed the world's first DNA-based vaccine...Another one is in the final stages of development. Indian scientists are also working on developing a nasal vaccine for coronavirus," he said.
"I extend my invitation to vaccine manufacturers from around the world: Come and make vaccines in India."
Earlier, stating how the world grows when India grows and how the "world transforms when India reforms", PM Modi listed other achievements of the country on the welfare front.
Inspired by the "Integral Humanism" philosophy of Deendayal Upadhyay, the ideological torchbearer of his party, the BJP, he said India was ensuring integrated and equitable development for all.
Extending his favourite slogan, "sabka saath, sabka vikas" ("With everyone, everyone's progress"), he said the country's priority was inclusive, universal development that "nurtures all".
"India has made homeless families home-owners...We are carrying out a campaign to ensure that piped clean water reaches homes...Drones are being used to map over 600,000 villages (to facilitate) digital land records...They reduce property disputes and increase access to credit and bank loans," PM Modi said, listing some of the projects being undertaken in India today.
This is the first time, PM Modi is addressing the UN General Assembly in persons since the pandemic broke out in December 2019. Last year, the session was organised virtually.