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India is world leader in vaccines, doing fantastic work in sphere of AI: Bill Gates

Bill Gates exuded confidence about India's growth prospects in the future and said the country has strongly improved in several key areas. He also lauded political competition in India which is providing better amenities to people, while assuring support to the country's efforts in AI.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Updated on: February 29, 2024 23:42 IST
Bill Gates on India, vaccine production, Artificial intelligence
Image Source : ANI Microsoft co-chair and philanthropist Bill Gates speaking to news agency ANI.

New Delhi: Bill Gates, one of the world's prominent philanthropists and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said India is a world leader in vaccines and investment is being made in the country for lots of new vaccines. Gates asserted that he was "bullish" about India's future, saying the rate of improvement in key areas is very strong.

In an exclusive interview with the news agency ANI, Gates also said a lot of fantastic work in the field of Artificial Intelligence was going on in India and the country is poised to do a lot of the leadership work in the sphere. He said Indian leadership is something other countries should benefit from and talked about India's remarks about the willingness to help others during the G20 Summit.

"I'm certainly bullish. You know, the rate of improvement in a lot of the key areas is very, very strong. You know, everyone knows that in vaccines, India's the world's leader, so we're investing with our partners here to come up with lots of new vaccines," he told ANI. The renowned philanthropist also said that the idea of digital connections starting with Aadhaar in India was flourishing and could be seen in agriculture now.

Bill Gates also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, where he spoke about AI for public good, digital public infrastructure, women-led development, innovation in several sectors and how other countries can take lessons from India.

Bill Gates on India's vaccine production

Speaking on India's role in increasing vaccine production, Gates said, "In the case of COVID vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine, was available to any vaccine manufacturer. And in fact, it's very impressive that we helped fund Serum (Institute of India) with USD 300 million. They did many things, but they took the AstraZeneca and got it into production very, very quickly."

Gates lauded India's vaccination initiatives that have helped, among other things, to bring down child mortality. "They've adopted a lot of new vaccines and they've done a great job getting them out to all the kids in the country. So, under five mortalities is a third of what it was at the turn of the century, which was when we first started to work here. So, you know, one-third as many children die before the age of five. And the work on vaccines is a big, big part of why India's seen that improvement," he said.

'Growth of Indian economy a real positive'

The Microsoft co-founder also recalled his long friendship with investor Warren Buffett and both agreed that the growth of the Indian economy is definitely a real positive. "Warren hasn't been to India a lot, so he wouldn't claim any deep knowledge. But as we talk about good things going on in the world, the growth of the Indian economy is definitely a real positive," he added.

Gates said India's thrust on education is paying off and lauded political competition in a democracy for providing better amenities to people, while innovation levels are at a higher level than before. "That's why companies like Microsoft have 25,000 people here that do absolutely amazing work. That developed over 25 years, and so a foundation was laid of educating people and now that's paying off. It's nice to see you've got a government where some of the political competition is, I'll run the health system better than they do, I'll make the schools better than they do," he added.

Bill Gates on India's work in Artificial Intelligence

Elaborating on the work done in India in the realm of AI, Gates spoke about innovators like Nandan Nilekani and groups like Wadhwani, who are helping the poorest population in the fields of health and agriculture. He also said India has made great strides in Digital Public Infrastructure and described its democratic system as 'magical' for prioritising economic improvement. He also assured of his foundation's support to India in AI.

Gates also visited IIT Delhi recently and also the state of Odisha, where he met with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. In recognition of his contributions to global health, education and efforts to combat climate change through innovative technological solutions aimed at reducing inequality, Bill Gates was honored with the KISS Humanitarian Award 2023. 

Bill Gates further mentioned his conversation with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the countries that can take help from the Indian leadership. "So going back to the G20, India stated its desire to help others. And we are partner with India. In fact, I spoke with the External Affairs Minister today about what countries could we accelerate. They are getting some of these benefits that have been so incredible here in India," he said. 

(with inputs from ANI)

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