Self-discipline and self-awareness are the country’s strengths in fighting against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Mann ki Baat radio address on Sunday.

The prime minister noted that scientists are studying the Omicron variant and getting new data every day. He added that people’s collective strength will defeat the coronavirus. “...With this very sense of responsibility we have to enter into 2022,” he said.

Modi noted that the country has now administered more than 140 million coronavirus vaccine doses, and said that this was every Indian’s achievement. “This shows the trust of every Indian in the system; shows trust in science and in scientists; and is also a testament to the willpower of we Indians who are fulfilling our responsibilities towards the society,” he said.

The prime minister also paid tribute to Group Captain Varun Singh, who died a week after being injured in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu. India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others also died in the crash.

Modi referred to a letter written by Singh to the students of his alma mater, which was widely shared on social media. Singh had written that not everyone could excel at school and that it was okay to be mediocre.

“If you do [excel], it is an amazing achievement and must be applauded,” the letter said. “However, if you don’t, do not think that you are meant to be mediocre. You may be mediocre in school but it is by no means a measure of things to come in life. Find your calling – it could be art, music, graphic design, literature, etc. Whatever you work towards, be dedicated, do your best. Never go to bed, thinking, I could have put-in more efforts.”

The prime minister said that Singh had said that it would be a lot if he could inspire even a single student. “But today I would like to say – he has inspired the whole country,” Modi said. “Even though his letter talks only to the students, he has given a message to our entire society.”