Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lauded the followers of Buddhism for contributing generously in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, while saluting the frontline healthcare workers for their “selfless” service during the current crisis engendered by the pandemic.

“I once again salute our frontline healthcare workers, doctors, nurses who selflessly risk their lives every day to serve others in need, to those who have suffered and lost their dear ones. I extend condolences,” the PM said.

PM Modi made the remarks during his keynote speech, delivered virtually, at the prayer session held by the International Buddhist Confederation in New Delhi on the occasion of Vesak festival, also known as Baisakh Purnima, to commemorate Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and nirvana. The celebratory events were being held online to contain the threat posed by Covid-19.

PM Narendra Modi said that Buddha’s life was about peace, harmony and coexistence and it teaches us to unite against forces spreading hate and mindless violence.

“Today, there’re still forces whose existence depends on spreading hate, terror and mindless violence. Such forces don’t believe in liberal democratic principles. Believers of humanity must come together, defeat terror,” he said during his virtual address to mark global celebrations on Buddha Purnima.

He added that several individuals and organizations had risen to the occasion to do everything possible to reduce suffering during the worldwide health crisis engendered by the coronavirus disease and also thanked “generous contribution of equipment and materials made by the Buddist organizations and followers of Buddh dharma from the world over.”

During his virtual address at the event in the middle of the first wave of the Covid-19 last year, the Prime Minister stressed on India’s commitment to serve humanity and highlighted the country’s supply of critical drugs and humanitarian aid to several countries to help fight the pandemic.

On Wednesday, he urged the world not to lose sight of other big challenges like climate change while continuing the fight against Covid-19.

“…one of the biggest challenges is that of climate change. The reckless lifestyle of the present threatens the coming generations,” he said.

PM Modi noted that weather patterns are changing, glaciers are melting, rivers and forests are in danger.

“We cannot let our plants remain wounded. Lord Buddha put emphasis on a way of life where respect for Mother Nature is paramount,” PM Modi said and underlined that India is among the few large economies to be on track to completing the targets of the Paris accord.

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