New Delhi, Nov 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely lead a high-powered Indian delegation comprising finance minister Arun Jaitley and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman among others to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) marque annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January.
Modi will be the second Indian Prime Minister in 20 years after HD Deve Gowda in 1997 to address delegates at the popular Swiss ski resort where global leaders converge every year to discuss geo-politics, economics and development at the WEF’s flagship event.
Modi will likely address a special plenary on January 23 centred on “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World,” the theme of WEF’s 48th four day annual summit that will end on January 26.
World leaders and analysts will be keenly watching out for the phraseology in Modi’s maiden speech at the WEF’s annual event given the rapidly changing dynamics in geo-political calculus. Modi’s visit comes a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping defended economic globalisation in his first speech to the WEF at Davos.
Modi will use the occasion to hard sell the India story, showcasing the leapfrogging into the 100th rank in the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business rankings, jumping 30 notches from last year.
The annual rankings, which assesses countries on business-friendliness, procedural ease, regulatory architecture and absence of bureaucratic red tape, could jump further in the coming year after factoring in the GST, which kicked-in from July 1.
The Modi-government has vowed to turn India into an investors’ darling by removing bureaucratic sloth, eliminating red tape and reverse the country’s image as a dodgy place to do business.
It has launched a string of signature initiatives such as “Make in India” and brought about significant legislative changes including a modern Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
Bringing together over 2,500 leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society, academia, media and the arts, the aim of the Davos meeting will be to set an agenda that drives greater multistakeholder collaboration to address political, economic and societal challenges.
A WEF statement issued in September on its annual meet had said that “the global context today has changed dramatically: geostrategic fractures have re-emerged on multiple fronts with wide-ranging political, economic and social consequences. With over 400 sessions, the programme is an unparalleled effort to engage leaders in a new shared narrative to improve the state of the world”.
Besides Modi, finance minister Jaitley and defence minister Sitharaman will likely address special sessions at the WEF annual summit that will engage leaders and global influencers on a host of issues ranging from efforts to improve global governance mechanisms to inclusive economic development in the face of lower growth rates, declining productivity and skills gaps.