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Amid desi flavour at Davos, PM Modi hardsell at World Economic Forum today

‘India Means Business.’ That will be the main thrust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plenary address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting at Davos, which begins on Tuesday.

Published: 23rd January 2018 02:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2018 08:04 AM   |  A+A-

Swiss Federal President Alain Berset, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, talk during a meeting one day before the start of the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. | AP

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: ‘India Means Business.’ That will be the main thrust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plenary address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting at Davos, which begins on Tuesday. This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Davos since H D Deve Gowda’s trip in 1997.

It’s India shining everywhere in the Swiss mountain resort town with hoardings on buildings and on public transport publicising India and Indian organisations.

Despite heavy snowfall and a warning for –30 degrees Celsius temperature, the roads were chock-a-block with lounges by private and public sector enterprises from India where desi delicacies were flying off the counters. Chai and pakodas and vada pao and dosas were in high demand.The Union government has set up the official India Lounge, while the Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra governments too have their own lounges.

This year’s WEF theme is ‘Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’.Modi, who left Monday morning for the event, has a packed schedule during his 24-hour trip. The six senior ministers accompanying him will be staying on to address and attend other events at the five-day annual gathering of world leaders from business, politics, academia, art and civil society at Davos. These include 70 heads of state and heads of 38 major international organisations like the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.

On Monday, Modi arrived at Zurich around 1 pm local time and travelled to Davos. He was scheduled to hold a brief meeting with Swiss President Alain Berset at 5.30 pm local time, and attend a welcome reception before hosting a dinner roundtable with some 60 CEOs, 40 of them from 18 different countries and 20 from India.

The key heads of business from India include Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, Azim Premji, Rahul Bajaj, N Chandrasekaran, Chanda Kochhar, Uday Kotak and Ajay Singh, among others.Heads of other multinationals expected to attend include Airbus Group CEO Dirk Hoke, Hitachi chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi, BAE Systems chairman Roger Carr, IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty, Carlyle Group co-founder and co-CEO David Rubenstein and founder of the WEF Klaus Schwab.

PM Modi may attend SRK’s India lecture

If he finds the time, Modi may attend Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s lecture on creating change in India through women empowerment. Shah Rukh will receive the annual ‘Crystal Awards’ along with Australian actress Cate Blanchett and musician Elton John for helping to improve the state of the world.

In a series of tweets hashtagged with “India means business” before his departure, Modi said: “At Davos, I look forward to sharing my vision for India’s future engagement with the international community….I am confident that these bilateral meetings would be fruitful and give a boost to our relations with these countries and further strengthen economic engagement...”

Modi will meet the Indian business delegation at Davos and will interact with 120 members of the International Business Council, which include General Motors CEO Mary T Barra, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, and the chairman of Board of Executive Directors of BASF, Nestle and J P Morgan Chase, among others.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and MoS for External Affairs M J Akbar will address other events.Last year, in the first appearance by a Chinese leader at Davos, President Xi Jinping had offered a vigorous defence of free trade.

Four indicators

7.4% India’s projected growth in 2018 as against China’s 6.8 per cent, according to IMF; 7.8% in 2019
81 India’s global talent competitiveness ranking, up from 89th place in 2016.

62nd Position of India on the Inclusive Development Index among emerging economies.

1% Of the richest mop up 73% of wealth generated in India; their wealth increased by over `20.9 lakh crore during 2017, says an Oxfam study.

Shah Rukh khan lecture

PM Narendra Modi may attend Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s lecture on creating change in India through women empowerment at the WEF

India means business

On Tuesday, after his plenary address, Modi will meet the Indian business delegation at Davos. He will also interact with the International Business Council


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