President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said amid Covid19 crisis, India supplying medicines to nearly 150 countries turned out to be the ‘pharmacy of the world’.

“We supplied medicines to nearly 150 countries, making the world look at India as the ‘pharmacy of the world’,” President Kovind said while addressing the valedictory session of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention on Saturday via video conferencing.

“Our diaspora is our face to the world, and champions India’s cause on the global stage,” the President said.

“It has always come to India’s aid, whether it is for advocacy regarding international issues of concern to India, or contributing to the Indian economy by way of investments and remittances,” President Kovind added.

The President said on this very day in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi Bharatiya, returned to India.

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“He gave a much wider base to our social reforms and freedom movement, and during the next three decades, he changed India in many fundamental ways,” Kovind said.

The President said: “We are indebted to Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose vision re-energised the links with our diaspora. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations started in 2003 when he was the Prime Minister of India.”

The President noted that India has one of the largest diaspora populations of nearly 30 million, residing in every corner of the world today.

Addressing the Indian diaspora, the President said, “You have spread the soft power of India and made your mark on the global stage. Your continued emotional attachment to India, its culture and traditions makes all of us very proud of you.”

Speaking about the pandemic, the President said the year 2020 has been the year of a global crisis caused by the COVID19.

“India has been at the forefront in forging a global response to combat the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said.

“The recent success of our scientists and technicians in developing two COVID vaccines is a major achievement for the Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which is driven by the spirit of global well-being,” Kovind said.

The President said the seeds of an Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat were sown many years ago by Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Swadeshi and Self-reliance.

“Our vision of Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat has five key pillars of economy, infrastructure, demography, democracy and supply chains. Successful integration of all these factors will help achieve rapid growth and development,” he added.

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