Despite globalisation losing its luster, India is working toward a five trillion dollar economy by 2025, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a packed audience at Davos on Tuesday. “Almost all areas of our economy have been opened to foreign direct investment. India is removing the red tape and laying out the red carpet,” he said.
Delivering the plenary address of the World Economic Forum, he began by comparing the world today with the one that existed in 1997, when Prime Minister Deve Gowda had come to Davos. Noting that technology had radically transformed not just the opportunities but also the challenges since then, he went on to list three major current challenges: global warming, terrorism and the unravelling of globalisation.
Elaborating on global warming, he harped on the ancient Indian scriptures that preach, “Earth is our god, and we are the children of Mother Earth... If yes, why is there a war of sorts between us and the Earth?” Because, he said, we were going against what the ancient gurus told their pupils: “Stay in the world, and enjoy it, but be frugal and make sacrifices.”
Noting that enough had been said about terrorism, he said the artificial distinction between good and bad terrorism was equally dangerous. The other aspect was the increasing number of educated and well-to-do youngsters getting radicalised, something that the world must unite against.
In what was seen as a reference to US President Donald Trump’s America First pitch, Modi warned that protectionism can be as dangerous as terrorism and climate change. “While the ideals of the UN are still accepted, and the WTO has wide support, do these institutions really reflect the realities and aspirations of today’s generation? Is the existing international system promoting fractures and rifts in this world? Can we remove these rifts and distances to make a good shared future?” he asked.
Many countries are becoming inward-focused and globalisation is shrinking; such tendencies can’t be considered a lesser risk than terrorism or climate change
I see many moving from need-based consumption to greed-based consumption. Many trade agreements had come to a stand-still, with cross-border investments dropping in many areas. Is this really development, or the beginning of society’s downfall?
We in India have decided to uproot the licence and permit Raj. We are now replacing the red tape with a red carpet