Billionaire Gautam Adani on Monday defended handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, saying criticism should not be at the cost of national dignity and destroying the confidence of a nation.
The fact that India fought back the pandemic should in itself be a lesson for all, that there can be no better defence than aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) to mitigate future black swan events, he said at Priyadarshini Academy's global awards event.
Over the next two decades, the Adani Group chairman said, India will have the biggest and the youngest middle class that ever existed and the country will be the market that every global company will target.
"In this euphoria, let us never forget that we were largely left alone to fight the pandemic. This does not mean that there cannot be any criticism. However, criticism cannot be at the cost of national dignity. It cannot be at the cost of degrading or destroying the confidence of a nation. It cannot be about dividing the society - else we play right into the hands of those that do not want to see a resurgent India," he said.
Be it sustainable technologies for a greener world, digital technology for a more connected India, education solutions for a more literate India, medical solutions for a healthier India, agriculture solutions for the farmers and all the enabling infrastructure are all trillion dollar opportunities ahead in the not too distant future, Adani said.
"They lay the foundation for our aatmanirbharta. This journey must be led by companies from our own nation that compete at some levels and yet collaborate at other levels," he added.
He also said that the expansion, integration and deepening of trade and finance among nations is inevitable.
"But the world is not as flat as Thomas Friedman has made out to be. There are bends to navigate. For instance, India had nothing to do with the virus, but sustained some of the most drastic consequences and criticism on the global stage. There was not a single major international voice of understanding. All this while we as a nation had the gravitas to not criticise any country as they fought their own battles to control the virus," he said.
The pandemic has been the wake up call for every nation and it has permanently changed geo-politics, he said adding the integration of new and the dis-integration of existing global alliances has a far-reaching implications.
"A greater India must be an India that is visibly a more aatmanirbhar India, a greater India must be an India that is visibly a more muscular India, a greater India must be an India that is visibly a more India for Indians. Such an approach is not about politics, but is about the emerging world order. If there ever were a time when democratic India had a need and opportunity to stand strong and celebrate our Indianness, it is now - at the doorstep of decade of future growth," he said.