India now land of 1 billion aspirational minds, 2 billion skilled hands: Modi
The prime minister reiterated his stand on India achieving the target of becoming a developed nation by 2047
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said it is natural for India to hold G20 meetings in every part of its territory as he dismissed Chinese objections over some of the events being organised in Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.
As part of its efforts to showcase India’s cultural and regional diversity at a global stage, the Modi government has hosted G20 events across the country’s length and breadth. China, a G20 member, and Pakistan, which is not a member of the bloc, had objected to the decision to hold one of the events in Kashmir, which they call “disputed”. China also disputes India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh. India has already dismissed claims by China and Pakistan.
“Such a question would be valid if we had refrained from conducting meetings in those venues. Ours is such a vast, beautiful and diverse nation. When G20 meetings are happening, isn’t it natural that meetings will be held in every part of our country,” Modi said in an interview to PTI at his Lok Kalyan Marg residence late last week.
India held the third G20 working group meeting on tourism for three days from May 22 in Srinagar. Delegates of all G20 countries, barring China, visited the picturesque Valley for the event. A large number of delegates had also visited Arunachal Pradesh in March for a G20 event.
Dismissing Chinese claims, India had then said that it is free to hold meetings on its own territory.
By the time India’s G20 presidency term ends, Modi said, over 220 meetings would have taken place across 60 cities in all 28 states and eight Union Territories, and added that over one lakh participants from around 125 nationalities would witness the skills of Indians.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi reiterated his stand on India achieving the target of becoming a developed nation by 2047 and said “corruption, casteism and communalism will have no place in our national life”. He also stated: “We have democracy, demography and diversity and we have now added fourth ‘D’ i.e. development.
The quality of life of our people will be at par with the best countries of the world. We will achieve this while caring for both nature and culture.”
The prime minister asserted that the ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ model can be the guiding principle for the welfare of a world shifting from a “GDP-centric approach” to a “human-centric one”. “Irrespective of the size of the GDP, every voice matters,” Modi told PTI.
Modi also said that for a long time, India was perceived as a nation of over 1 billion hungry stomachs, but now it is seen as a nation of more than 2 billion skilled hands. “For a long time, India was perceived as a nation of over 1 billion hungry stomachs. But now, India is being seen as a nation of over 1 billion aspirational minds, more than 2 billion skilled hands, and hundreds of millions of young people.”
Talking about populist measures, the prime minister said, “Irresponsible financial policies, populism may give short term political results but extract great social, economic price in long term. Poorest and most vulnerable suffer the most from irresponsible financial policies and populism.”
On the issue of terrorism, Modi said that terrorists are using darknet, metaverse, as well as cryptocurrency to achieve their nefarious aims which can have implications for the social fabric of nations. He said that global cooperation in fighting cybercrimes is not just desirable but inevitable. He said that cyberspace has introduced an entirely new dimension to the battle against illicit financial activities and terrorism.
Reforms in UN
Calling for reforms in the United Nations, Prime Minister Modi said mid-20th century approach cannot serve the world in 21st century. “International institutions need to recognise changing realities, relook at their priorities and ensure representation of voices. Smaller regional forums will become more important if bigger multilateral institutions don’t change with time.”
“Many positive impacts are coming out of India’s G20 presidency. Some of them are very close to my heart. In G20, our words and vision are seen by world as roadmap for future and not merely ideas. India’s G20 Presidency also sowed seeds of confidence in countries of so-called third world,” Modi said in the 80-minute interview that focused on G20 and related issues.
On his initiatives of solar alliance and biofuel alliance, Modi said, “We have been making great progress in climate-centric initiatives within India. We ramped up our solar energy capacity 20-fold in just a few years.”
“India is among the top four nations in the world in terms of wind energy. In the electric vehicle revolution, India is playing an important role in both innovation and adoption. We are perhaps the first among the G20 countries to have achieved our climate targets 9 years ahead of the scheduled date. Our action against single-use plastic has been recognised across the world. We have also made great strides in safe sanitation and cleanliness,” he added.
Replying to a query on equal distribution and democratisation of technology, Modi said, “When it comes to the democratization of technology, India has global credibility. We have taken many steps over the last few years that the world has taken note of. And those steps are also becoming stepping stones for a larger global movement.”
“The world’s largest vaccine drive was also the most inclusive. We provided over 200 crore doses free…Today, digital transactions are empowering every section of our business life, from street vendors to big banks,” he added.
The prime minister also broached the issue of political stability, saying, “In the three decades before 2014, our country saw many governments that were unstable and therefore, unable to get much done. But in the last few years, the people have given a decisive mandate, which has led to a stable government, predictable policies and clarity in the overall direction.”
“This stability is the reason that over the past nine years, several reforms were brought in. These reforms, related to the economy, education, financial sector, banks, digitalization, welfare, inclusion and social sector, have laid a strong foundation and growth is a natural by-product,” he added.
(With agency inputs)