Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the World Economic Forum on Monday evening.
“This bouquet includes the temperament of us Indians,” Modi said in Hindi, modulating his voice and raising a finger for emphasis as he uttered the word “temperament”.
“It contains our talent,” he continued, again emphasising the word “talent” with a raised finger.
As Modi did so, he stole a glance to his left.
“Which…,” he said.
He looked again to his left, this time turning his head.
He kept looking, his expression changing, then he turned to face the microphone again and raised both his hands as if throwing them up, then looked down and plugged in an earphone into his right ear and looked up again.
Then Modi said: “Klaus… theek se suna raha hai?”
The host, WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab, reassured him: “I hear you.”
While Schwab was still speaking, Modi continued: “And, and our interpreter’s voice is also reaching everyone?”
As he spoke, his voice unsure, Modi was glancing to his right.
Schwab said: “We hear you very well and I would suggest that we start the official session now.”
There was an awkward silence. Modi nodded, standing before the microphone on the world stage, speechless.
Once the glitch (possibly the teleprompter malfunctioning) was rectified, Modi started his speech all over again.
The clip of the Prime Minister’s pause was being widely shared on social media.
Journalist Rohini Singh tweeted: “Seems some poor technicians in the PMO will lose their job today. Just hope they aren’t charged with sedition/UAPA and what not. Noida media must be on standby to take out some Khalistani link to the embarrassment today!”
Gaurav Pandhi, whose Twitter bio identifies him as national coordinator of the Congress’s digital communications and social media, posted: “While addressing the WEF at Davos, the ‘teleprompter’ went off and the GREAT ORATOR had no idea of his speech and what to speak.”