World Economic Forum: Modi to pitch India as global growth-engine
Over 3,000 world leaders in business, politics, civil society, academia, and art are set to come together for the 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting from January 23-26 to be held in Davos, Switzerland. At the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to pitch India as the global economy's growth engine. Here's more on what to expect.
Long time since India's last WEF Annual Meeting appearance
Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister in over 20 years to be attending the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos. The last prime minister to attend it was HD Deve Gowda in 1997.
PM Modi's "short but very focused" visit
PM Modi is expected to deliver the 'opening plenary' for official sessions. Apart from pitching India as an open economy ready for investment, Modi will also host a dinner for CEOs - 20 domestic and 40 international - during his "short but very focused" visit. He will also meet Swiss President Alain Berset, and interact with 120 members of the WEF's business community.
WEF survey forecasts a dark 2018
An annual WEF survey conducted ahead of the summit revealed that the world would see risks related to the economy, environment, and international relations intensify this year as a majority of stakeholders are expecting political and/or economic confrontations between major powers to worsen.
India to host the 'welcome reception'
WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab will declare the summit open today evening and address attendees on the theme, 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World'. This'll be followed by the annual 'Crystal Awards' ceremony and a ballet performance. India will host the 'welcome reception' with its "exquisite cuisine and age-old Yoga heritage as well as the spirit of a young, innovative New India".
This year's Crystal Award winners
The 'Crystal Awards' are dedicated to outstanding artists who show exemplary commitment towards trying to make the world a better place. This year's Crystal Award winners include Shah Rukh Khan, Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett, and legendary singer Elton John.
Free trade agreement between India and EFTA to be discussed
According to a Swiss government statement, negotiations on the envisaged free trade agreement between India and the European Free Trade Association, and on a bilateral investment protection pact will feature heavily in PM Modi's meeting with President Berset. Modi is also expected to talk about his experience with 'cooperative federalism' in India, while urging the world for collective action on terrorism, cyber threats, etc.
Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan to be present also
PM Modi will also detail the various measures taken by the Indian government to curb corruption, streamline taxation, boost sustainable growth, and make business easier in India. Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan will also speak on the power of economic narratives and the roles of policymakers in facing the challenges of the 21st century. In addition, Shah Rukh will speak about women empowerment and change.
Trump is expected to speak about his 'America first' policy
US President Donald Trump will deliver the closing address, and it's expected that he will be talking about his 'America first' policy. It's unlikely that President Trump and PM Modi will meet during the summit. There's a lot of focus on what President Trump will say and how other world leaders from Germany, France, UK, Italy, and Canada will react to it.