No one is keen that India emerges stronger. There is a growing trend in the western media to target Indian political leadership at any given opportunity. This week, Le Monde, the reputed French paper published an article on the expected line to target political leadership of India without understanding the ground reality as part of the agenda to defame the growing influence of India in the world. It appears that the attack on the political leadership of India is a part of a larger design. The editorial of the Le Monde is using the same language which is used by political opponents of the government and some selected media houses led by a group of people with anti-government agenda. That is why the editor failed to cross-check the facts on the ground. Let me share the facts for the benefit of the editor of Le Mondo and readers.
As a concerned citizen of India, who is keeping track of facts on the ground, is upset that Le Monde's editorial lacks facts and is written with a preconceived agenda to tarnish the image of India and Indian political leadership. Let me respond to all points with facts.
It is true that every day, 0.35 million new infections and more than 2,000 deaths are recorded in the country with a population of about 1400 million people. Every country is suffering due to this planted disaster in the world. Is this due to the failure of political leadership around the world? If not, why only in India is it considered a failure of political leadership?
This situation is grim due to various reasons but labeling this as an outcome of lack of anticipation, arrogance, and demagogy of the Indian Prime Minister is illogical. This makes no sense. It is like saying terrorist attacks in France are the lack of anticipation and arrogance of french political leadership by allowing immigrants to come and settle.
The reality is in every message the Prime Minister always warned that we must practice all covid prevention protocols. Each and every telephone call in India starts with the same covid prevention protocol message. Even after that if people do not listen and follow the instruction who is at fault? We must accept that the irresponsible behavior of citizens is the prime reason for the spread. After months of confinement, people started taking things lightly and started violating covid prevention protocol and the outcome is in front of us.
The newspaper Le Monde also makes fun of India’s capability as the "pharmacy of the world". It says the country exported and offered millions of doses of vaccine, ensuring that it produced enough for its population to be protected. Three months later, the Indian "example" gave way to a nightmare.
This is a fact that India is the pharmacy of the world and it will remain. India offered the medicine to every country looking for cost-effective medicines and those who were denied cost-effective medicine by profit-hungry western pharma companies.No one complained about the shortage of medicines in India. The shortage started when the western world blocked the supply of raw material for vaccine manufacturing. These MNCs are controlling the supply to remove the cost-effective Indian vaccine from the world to maximize their profits from the global crisis. Why is Le Monde not advising the WHO and all countries for the compulsory license of patented drugs to save public life? Is Le Monde afraid of pharma MNCs and loss of advertisement revenue? Le Mondo Editor must explain the reason for keeping silent on this vital issue.
The editorial of Le Monde also says, such a flashback cannot be explained solely by the unpredictability of a virus and its variants. Narendra Modi's lack of prediction, arrogance, and demagogy are clearly among the causes of a situation that now seems out of control and requires international mobilization. The Prime Minister, after paralyzing and traumatizing his country in 2020 by decreeing brutal confinement, abandoning millions of migrant workers, completely lowered his guard at the beginning of 2021. Once again newspapers have no understanding of the governance system in any country. Le Monde should know that all political leaders discuss the issues with advisors and experts before taking any decision. The Prime Minister of India is also guided by the competent people in their field. As far as anticipation is concerned, it was known to us that once the restrictions are removed people will take things casually and the situation may become serious that is why there was a constant reminder to ensure preventive care and a focus on self-reliance of most of the essential supplies like PPE list, testing kits, medicines, vaccines, etc. Many leading industrialists and experts around the world were openly advocating India should not go for lockdown in the first place. The government was criticized when the lockdown was imposed, and the government is criticized for not forcing lockdown this time. It is easy to make irresponsible statements for any editor of foreign media without making efforts to cross the facts.
The fact is the shortage of medicine in many parts of the country is also due to the hoarding by some antisocial elements, not because of a shortage of manufacturing capabilities. I suggest that the government must issue urgent orders to make spurious medicines, hoarding and black-marketing of essential medicine and medical supplies like oxygen a criminal offense punishable by life imprisonment.
Why La Monde have a problem with the nationalist agenda?
There is a serious problem in understanding the facts by the editor of Le Monde. It says preferring nationalist harangues to health councils, more inclined to self-celebration than to protect populations, This is nothing but an illogical statement by an ignorant editor about the facts on the ground. The fact and experience are nationalist medical experts are more committed towards the national issues than most of the foreign-funded NGOs and experts funded by MNCs. The conflict of interest always kept India weak and at the mercy of other western powers. This time India is able to develop vaccines in record time. Why in the past foreign-funded NGOs never advised India to become self-sufficient in which sector they operated. The fact is Indian doctors are known worldwide for their skills and competency, why is their competency doubted when they work with the national government?
Le Monde blamed the covid spread squarely on the electoral campaign and Kumbh Mela pilgrimage. The fact is the maximum number of Covid cases are in Maharashtra. There was no election and no Kumbh gathering and managed by Non-nationalist and non-BJP government. Another state where Covid outbreak cases are the 2nd highest in Kerala, the state with the highest literacy, highest per capita income, and also so-called non-nationalist non-BJP state. Why did the Le Monde editor ignore the facts on the ground? What was the logic behind the politically motivated Le Monde statement is not known? What was the reason for the New York outbreak? I am not denying that mass gathering may have contributed to spreading in some parts of India, but giving it a political color is an irresponsible statement.
Le Monde also made another statement which has no logic, it says Mr. Modi is of the same imperative: prodigality of vaccine diplomacy at the service of its ambitions, but unaware of the reality of the country's production capacities, priority given to politically favorable regions of India, rejection of its responsibility on the federated states. The result is that barely 10% of the Indian population has received a dose of vaccine.
The fact is Indian vaccine manufacturers, including SII, Bharat Biotech, Panacea Biotech, Sanofi's Shanta Biotech, Biological E, Hester Biosciences, and Zydus Cadila, have an installed capacity to manufacture 8.2 billion doses of different vaccines per year. There is no shortage of vaccine manufacturing capacity in India to meet the demand. The problem started when western companies stopped supplying raw material for vaccine manufacturing in India. Why not a word from the editor of Le Mondo on this inhuman behavior of western companies under the direction of western political leaders is shameful. India was right in exporting medical help to other countries on a humanitarian basis because we had surplus vaccines and medicine at that time. India is always willing to help those in need. The problem is when few people funded by vested interest started doubting the efficacy of vaccines developed in India. Some opposition political leaders started questioning the vaccination program and deliberately created massive confusion among the people. At the beginning of April, we had 4.5 million vaccinations per day, now it has gone down to around 3 million a day. Who is responsible for creating confusion about vaccination programs in India? Le Mondo must do proper investigation before writing baseless editorials. Editors must also give their views on why the western world blocked the raw material supply to the most cost-effective Indian vaccine manufacturers.
On one point, I agree with Le Monde that in the face of this disaster, it is time for solidarity. Everything must be done to alleviate and shorten the suffering of the people of India, whom the pandemic has already brought back, by the millions, below the poverty line. The United States, the European Union, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have rightly announced the sending of aid in the form of respirators or components for the production of vaccines. La Monde failed to mention the names of non-western countries like Russia, Singapore, and other countries also extending help to India. Is this also due to ignorance or part of the agenda?
Le Monde should appreciate that Indian voters and democracy are neither weak nor ignorant about the ground reality which can be manipulated. The fact is nationalism is important to fight back during the Covid crisis so that a country of 1400 million reduces the dependency on unreliable friends and exploiters of the crisis for profiteering. The cost-effective reliable vaccines are also part of nationalism. .India is also not suffering from ignorance, but suffering due to selfish friends operating with profiteering motives. Overpopulation and stretched resources due to competing demands on various essential services adding pressure on the system. Do not worry, once again, the nationalist people of India will emerge stronger after this crisis.