The World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of political and business leaders, which usually takes place in Davos, is a virtual event this year due to the pandemic. The FT brings you highlights from day four.
Narendra Modi promised more coronavirus vaccines manufactured in India, as the south Asian country’s drive to immunise its population of 1.4bn gathers pace.
India’s prime minister said on Thursday that more than 2.3m healthcare workers have been inoculated against coronavirus during the 12-day-old vaccine rollout.
India aims to vaccinate 30m healthcare workers free of charge in the first phase and protect 300m people including the elderly by August. But the campaign got off to a slow start after initial technology issues acted as a brake on the inoculation rollout and suspicions about a domestically produced vaccine.
Mr Modi emphasised the role that India, home to the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, can play in supplying the rest of the world with jabs.
“Only two made-in-India vaccines have been introduced to the world,” he said. “In the near future many more such vaccines will be made available from India.”
Mr Modi struck a different tone on globalisation to many other leaders speaking at the WEF, drawing a picture of a self-sufficient India that can help to shore up global supply chains that have been shaken by US-China tension and the coronavirus pandemic.
“India is now moving forward with the resolve to become self-reliant. This aspiration of India for self-reliance will strengthen globalism in a new way,” he said. “India has the capacity, the capability and the reliability to strengthen global supply chains.”
European leaders earlier in the conference put a greater focus on increasing multilateral co-operation. Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Ursula von der Leyen made appeals to Joe Biden’s administration to extend its early actions to strengthen multilateral co-operation, while Vladimir Putin warned of the dangerous free-for-all conflict that could unfold from rising inequality because of the pandemic.
Mr Modi said India had helped to avert a “major tragedy” by reining in the spread of coronavirus. India’s outbreak peaked in September with more than 1,000 daily Covid-19 deaths for almost an entire month and it has recorded the highest cumulative death toll after the US and Brazil. It is now reporting just over 100 deaths a day and more than 10,000 daily cases.