Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people to promote local manufacturers and artists and help build a self-reliant India. He was speaking at the centenary celebrations of Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan in West Bengal through video conferencing.

“Today, as more and more people are getting a good education, we now have to work to build a strong and wise nation – one that is self-reliant,” the prime minister said, according to NDTV. “We must take inspiration from all those who have contributed to making India great over the centuries and millennia. We must also keep in mind the India that our freedom fighters envisioned when they fought for our independence. And that is why we are now at the stage to create an Aatmanirbhar Bharat [self reliant India].”

The prime minister is also the chancellor of the university. He urged students to help local artisans who cannot sell their products due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year the Poush Mela could not be held due to Covid 19 pandemic,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “This is the third time in its history that Poush Mela could not be held. As the nation is giving importance to the use of local products, I would urge university officials and its students to come to the aid of local artists in the promotion of their handicrafts.”

The poush mela or winter fair is a yearly event held on the university campus every December. People from neighbouring districts set up stalls to sell their handicraft and draws visitors from across the world. “Connect with the local artists and teach them the method to sell their products online,” he told students during his online address. “This will ensure our local products reach the global market.”

Modi added: “We must take India to the world, promote local to global. And to achieve that we need to first be vocal about local. I urge you all to promote local manufacturing and services.”

The prime minister also said that Visva Bharati was a “venerable source of constant energy to country”, according to PTI. He added that the university was an embodiment of the philosophy, vision and hard work of Bengali poet and writer Rabindranath Tagore, and praised the role it played in India’s freedom movement.

“Guided by Gurudev [Rabindranath Tagore], Visva Bharati presented a strong image of Indian nationalist sentiment during Independence,” the prime minister said, according to ANI. “Gurudev wanted entire humanity to benefit from India’s spiritual awakening. Atmanirbhar Bharat vision is also a derivative of this sentiment.” The university was founded by Tagore in 1921.

Modi also claimed that India was the only major country moving in the right direction “to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement”.

Earlier this month, India announced that it had formed a high-level ministerial panel for the implementation of the targets under the Paris agreement on climate crisis. In December 2015, as many as 195 countries had come together and signed the Paris Accord, which seeks to prevent global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius, to prevent extremities like higher sea levels, changes in weather patterns, food and water crises and other adverse effects.