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At Davos, PM Modi hits out at protectionism; says terrorism, climate change grave threats

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Davos: "We in India are proud of our democracy and diversity. For a society with diverse religions, cultures, languages, attires and cuisines; democracy is not just a political system but a way of living."

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 23, 2018 9:09:58 pm
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)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday insisted that terrorism and climate change are the biggest threats that the entire world is facing in the present time, and added that the “artificial distinction” made by some people between “good and bad terrorists is equally dangerous as terrorism”.

Delivering a keynote address at the opening session of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, PM Modi said India’s position on the menace of terrorism is well known and he would not like to elaborate on that. Issues of peace, security and stability have also emerged as serious global challenges, he added.

Underlining the importance of technology, the prime minister said data is the real wealth in the present era. “Today, data is a real wealth and it is being said that whoever acquires and controls the data will have hegemony in the future. The global flow of data is creating big opportunities as well as challenges,” he said.

He added that technology-driven transformation has been deeply affecting people’s way of thinking, working, international groups, politics, and economy.

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Talking about social media, Modi said, “The example of breaking, addition, and twisting of technology is being seen in the form of social media.”

Protectionism is rearing its head and there is risk of new tariff and non-tariff barriers coming up, the prime
minister said, as he mentioned that division is not the solution to this problem of anti-globalisation.

He also made a comparison between World Economic Forum meeting in 1997 and 2018. “Last time an Indian PM came to Davos was in 1997 when Deve Gowda ji had come. That time our GDP was little more than 400 billion dollars, now its more than six times. That forum’s vision was about the building of network society. Then there was no Euro; very few people knew about Osama bin Laden. Google was not invented, if someone would search Amazon on Internet then search results would throw information about rivers and forests. Tweeting was the work of birds.”

Referring to this year’s WEF’s theme of ‘Creating a shared future in a fractured world’, the prime minister said the Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family) has become more relevant in today’s time to address fissures and distances in the world.

“India has always believed in values of integration and unity or ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which means the entire world is one family. It is relevant to bridge distances. We have always believed in uniting humanity, not breaking it,” he said.

“There are some explosive forces in the environment that are capable of creating barriers to development, world peace and stability. However, if we stand as one unit, we can help bridge the fractures created by these,” he said.

He further called for retrospection on these obstacles and said it is high time we stand in unison and examine whether, in any way, we are encouraging the existence of these barriers.

“Mahatma Gandhi’s Principle of Trusteeship to use things according to one’s need is important. He was against the use of anything for one’s greed. We’re today exploiting nature for our greed. We need to ask ourselves if this is our progress or regression,” he added.

PM Modi also told the world leaders that democracy in India was not just a “political system” but a way of living. “We in India are proud of our democracy and diversity. For a society with diverse religions, cultures, languages, attires and cuisines; democracy is not just a political system but a way of living…In India, democracy, demography and dynamism are giving shape to development and destiny. ”

He also highlighted various schemes adopted by his government for India’s development, all of which were based on the policy of ‘inclusion’. “In 2014 after 30 years, the 600 crore Indians provided a complete majority to any political party to form govt at the centre. We took the resolution for the development of everyone and not just a specific group. Our motto is ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’. We have an inclusive agenda which is the foundation of all government policies,” said the prime minister.

“When the world was embroiled in two World Wars, India sent a peacekeeping force of 1.5 lakh across the world without any territorial ambitions or selfishness. Indian values are the reason why we have contributed more to UN peacekeeping mission more than any other country,” he added.

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