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PM Modi invites world to India: Come and invest, red carpet replacing red tape

PM Modi pitched for India as an investment destination, emphasising on efforts to improve the ease of doing business.

Written by Shaji Vikraman | Davos | Updated: January 24, 2018 8:05 am
Climate change, terrorism are biggest threats the world is facing today: PM Modi in Davos Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his speech the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP photo)

Making a case for eliminating rifts and differences to build a new world order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday flagged the rising threat of protectionism, saying that a new layer of tariff and non-tariff barriers were being erected with countries increasingly focusing inward.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on his first visit to Davos, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 20 years, Modi also pitched for India as an investment destination, emphasising on efforts to improve the ease of doing business. “We have made it so easy to invest in India, manufacture in India and work in India. We have decided to uproot licence and permit Raj. We are replacing red tape with red carpet,” he said in his keynote address on the opening day of the WEF.

Highlighting how technology was influencing the way we work and live today, the Prime Minister said, “He who is able to control data will control the world.”

Full text: PM Modi’s keynote speech at plenary session of WEF in Davos

In the global context, Modi said that bilateral negotiations have virtually come to a standstill because of new trade barriers.

“We have to accept that globalisation is losing lustre with the intention being to reverse the natural flow of globalisation, and forces of protectionism are raising their heads again,” he said, while addressing the audience of global CEOs and other leaders, including the President of Switzerland.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with WEF founder Klaus Schwab, Swiss President Alain Berset in Davos Tuesday. (Photo: Reuters)

Modi’s remarks come just a couple of days before President Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance here, with the US pushing hard for its America First economic and foreign policies.

Opting to speak in Hindi, in a speech that lasted over 40 minutes, Modi referred to fractures in the global scenario. “Is our global order widening these fault lines and increasing differences? What are the powers which give preference to conflicts over co-operation and what are the paths we can follow to eliminate rifts and differences,” he said, underlying the need to realise the dream of a shared future, which is one of the themes at this WEF edition.

Peppering his speech with quotes from Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and the Upanishads, Modi said that as a representative of India, he could say that the country believed in “linking people and not dividing them”.

Highlighting the concept of “Vasudhaiva Kudumbakam (world is one family)”, Modi said that resolution of conflict was a way of life in India

“The essence of a family is that everyone comes together in solidarity. It is a matter of concern that strife among nations has made the challenges complex and harder… The challenge we face is daunting,” he said.

Davos World Economic Forum Meet, Davos WEF Meet, Davos World Economic Forum, PM Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi Meets Indian CEOs, Indian CEOs, India News, Indian Express, Indian Express News Modi said that bilateral negotiations have virtually come to a standstill because of new trade barriers.

Like Chinese President Xi Jinping, who pushed for more open trade last year, Modi said the answer was not isolationism but formulating flexible policies in times of need.

The Prime Minister went on to list three major challenges for the world: climate change, terrorism and a growing number of countries now looking inwards.

“Everyone talks of reducing carbon emissions but few countries back it with words in terms of helping developing countries, citing the growing move towards greed-based consumption rather than need-based consumption. India is working on fighting climate change with the government now planning to push for the production of more renewable power by 2022,” Modi said.

On the threat posed by terrorism, Modi pointing out that it was dangerous to have an “artificial distinction” between “good terrorists and bad terrorists”. Another concern, he said, was “educated and well-to-do youth getting involved in terrorism…”

The third challenge, said the Prime Minister, was that a growing number of countries were now looking inwards and focussing on themselves, which was the opposite of globalisation. “It is time to review whether global organisations which were promoted years ago now represent the aspirations of many developing countries given that there has been no structural changes in these organisations,” he said.

In his pitch for investment in India, Modi said that the country’s vision for progress was inclusive. “Development is when all can participate and it is for everyone,” he said, referring to the opening of 30 crore new bank accounts and use of technology to ensure direct transfer of benefits or subsidies.

Saying that radical changes were underway with the mantra of “reform, perform or perish” and with an improvement in global rankings, it was far more easier and attractive to invest in India. “India’s youth was capable of building a $5 trillion economy by 2025 with innovation and entrepreneurship transforming them from job-seekers to job-creators…. Compared to a $400 billion economy in 1997, India has grown six-fold,” he said.

World Economic Forum Summit, Davos World Economic Forum Summit, Davos WEF summit, WEF summit Davos, PM Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi, India News, Indian Express, Indian Express News Modi said that as a representative of India, he could say that the country believed in “linking people and not dividing them”.

To many looking for reform signals or cues on the upcoming budget, Modi’s speech may not have yielded much but for many CEOs who attended sessions with the Indian delegation, the message was clear at Monday’s dinner meeting.

At the dinner, Modi spoke on the need to empower more people economically at the “bottom of the pyramid”, which could transform into opportunities in the local market and over time create demand globally.

As he wrapped up a day’s trip to the WEF, Modi also held two bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Canada and Switzerland.

Modi met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who is visiting India next month with his family members and a business delegation. Vijay Gokhale, Secretary, External Relations, said that the two leaders referred to synergies in many areas and discussed trade ties. There was also a brief discussion on terrorism and how to combat it.

Substantial progress was made in talks with Switzerland, too, with negotiations underway on automatic exchange of information, specifically related to financial transactions. The agreement related to this exchange aimed at combating black money was ratified by the two countries last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset (R) and the Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum, in Davos on Tuesday. (PTI Photo/PIB)

Modi also met Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on the sidelines of the forum.

On Monday night, Modi attended a dinner with top CEOs, global and Indian, where he pitched for investment. Forty CEOs of firms based globally with a market capitalisation of $3.6 trillion and 24 CEOs from India attended the meeting, including the chiefs of Unilever, Pepsico, IBM and ABB.

Modi also had a brief interaction with some of India’s top CEOs after his Tuesday session. Those who attended included Lakshmi N Mittal, Mukesh Ambani, Anand Mahindra, Sajjan Jindal, G M Rao, N Chandrasekharan and bankers Rajnish Kumar, Chanda Kochhar, Uday Kotak and Rana Kapoor.

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  1. Eve Fernandez
    Jan 24, 2018 at 1:54 pm
    Our PM is in his own imaginary world. He has g iose feeling about himself making him blind to real India. This has made the govt commit b ers like demonetization and hasty GST. His claims that corruption has decreased is fallacy. Common man faces corruption in many dealings with govt depts. Cleanliness has not improved in the country. This govt was lucky to low oil prices. We have to see how this govt manages if oil price hits 100 $. During their rule country has become more divided. Investments are not going to change India. It can not create jobs in villages. Unchannelised can turn farm lands into industrial hubs, strain already cramped metropolitan cities, increase pollution, make more people unhealthy. The solutions have to come internally and not from IMF, S P, Moody etc. If India is to really grow we have to be in forefront in creating new world class technolgies. Do we have a microsoft or intel? Can we design sophiscated defence eqpt,Can we create new technologies in power
    1. R
      Jan 24, 2018 at 1:51 pm
      Ask the reporter to get a licence, import goods or export goods, park a car, travel to villages, see the status of slums, read about persons dying due to extreme cold in Delhi, check the status of swatch Bharat by visiting dustbins of New Delhi, watch open defecation in Delhi suburbs. If he does all that he would realise that we have a regime for the media by the media and of the media
      1. ajith Mallu
        Jan 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm
        All talk about foreigners and western culture is gone. No one is going to invest in India when Karni Sena provides legal framework for investors . It is time to kick out this anti people party from center forever. Social cohesion is a fundamental requirement for economic growth. The authoritarian fascist state cannot provide real growth to people’s lives
        1. J
          Jan 24, 2018 at 12:33 pm
          Thoughtful observations. Who shall come and invest in a fascist nation? Sir, away from the matter under discussion, for publicity purpose, may I invite you (if I have not done so earlier) to watch my video - Homage to Pandit Nehru by p g joseph.
        2. S
          Singh is King
          Jan 24, 2018 at 11:38 am
          Indian Business are tax chors, So Mian Modi is inviting beef eaters companies with concessions.
          1. shabir ahmed
            Jan 24, 2018 at 11:38 am
            The PM in his address at WEF at Davos underlined climate change,terrorism and protectionism as three main problems confronting the world.No significant headway is possible on climate change and further easing trade barriers without active cooperation of USA and under Trump USA has already abandoned climate change talks and his stand on free trade is not encouraging given his emphasis on America first.However,on terrorism almost all nations are on the same page as all are affected in one way or other.The PM has overlooked the main challenge the world is confronted with that is hunger and poverty particularly in developing nations.Still about one fourth of world population lives in poverty, deprived of sufficient food,clean drinking water,education and other basic needs of life.Unless and until poverty is confronted upfront and everybody is able to have food,shelter and other basic requirements of life,the talks of development and globalisation would be meaningless.
            1. J
              Jan 24, 2018 at 12:38 pm
              Well said. By the bye, the PM's state has the highest number of child labour - be it in tea stalls, construction sites, rag picking...... First, let him put "his" house in a somewhat satisfactory position before rhetoric and flaunting and gesticulating! Most distressing that we have a PM like modi! Sir, while on the subject, for publicity purpose, may I invite you to watch my video - Homage to Pandit Nehru by p g joseph. Thank you, Sir.
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