Narendra Modi addresses World Economic Forum plenary

Updated - January 23, 2018 09:02 pm IST

Published - January 23, 2018 04:08 pm IST

Narendra Modi greets the audience prior to his speech the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

Narendra Modi greets the audience prior to his speech the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the keynote address at World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.

Mr. Modi, delivering his speech in Hindi, touted India's economic successes and stressed that the nation is open for business.

Highlights from the speech:


"A predictable, stable, transparent, and progressive India will continue to be the good news in an otherwise state of uncertainty and influx," Mr. Modi says.

An India where enormous diversity exists harmoniously will always be a unifying and harmonising force, he says in English.

Quoting Rabindranath Tagore, Mr. Modi says Tagore had dreamt of a heaven of freedom "where the World has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls." Let us join hands to make the world such an "heaven of freedom" and not divide or fracture it, Mr. Modi says as his concluding remarks.


On contributions of Indian Army

The previous century witnessed two World Wars. Indian soldiers laid down their lives in these wars despite not being part of any alliance, Mr. Modi says. Even today, Indian soldiers are striving to ensure peace by being part of UN Peacekeeping Mission, he adds.

India has been the first responder whenever and wherever calamity strikes, Mr. Modi says citing examples of the Nepal earthquake and Yemen evacuation.

India has never tried to capture anybody's land. We have only worked with nations to bring prosperity. We believe in multi-culturism. We have proved the world that people can stay united in a plural world, he says.


On plural India

"We, in India, are proud of our democracy and diversity," says Mr. Modi. Our democracy defines the roadmap and template of our country, he says. It is this democracy that awarded a national party a majority to govern the country for five years, Mr. Modi says and lines up his government's landmark schemes such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Jan Dhan Yojana, Digital India and so on. He also mentions how a united nation implemented the Goods and Services Tax.

Mr. Modi also highlights that many people have voluntarily given up their subsidies for the benefit of the nation.

The 3Ds — democracy, demography and dynamism —  are changing the destiny of our people, Mr. Modi says.


On globalisation

Mr. Modi now talks about globalisation. He once again quotes Mahatma Gandhi. He says Gandhiji used to say "I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any." Mr. Modi says this is the government's policy on globalisation.

Mr. Modi also expresses his displeasure of protectionism. Many societies and countries are becoming self-centred. It seems that globalisation, as opposed to its definition, is shrinking. Such misplaced preferences can't be considered any less of a threat than terrorism or climate change. We must admit that the shine of globalisation is fading, he says.


On terrorism

The Prime Minister says the second biggest challenge is terrorism. He goes on to say that even more dangerous is the trend of differentiating terrorism as "good terrorism" and "bad terrorism."

"It is painful to see some youngsters are getting radicalised," he says.


Upanishads — the ancient Indian texts, Lord Buddha, and Mahatma Gandhi have all stressed the importance of judicious use of materials. "We have to earn for our need, not our greed," Mr. Modi says quoting Mahatma Gandhi.

Asserting that Indians are environment-friendly, Mr. Modi elaborates on the India-led global solar alliance to tap the renewable energy resources.


On Climate Change

The Prime Minister begins addressing the issue of climate change. He calls it the "biggest challenge the world is facing." Islands are getting submerged, glaciers are melting, extreme weather conditions are being felt day-by-day. Everyone is talking about cutting down carbon emission. Technology will have a big role to play, he says.

India has always believed in values of integration and unity, Mr. Modi says citing 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam'. The Sanskrit phrase means the entire world is one family. It is relevant to bridge distances even today, he says.


Thrust on Technology

Technology-driven transformation has changed the way we live, we work and we communicate today, he says stressing the importance of social media and data. He also points out that these new technologies have brought new challenges as well.

At a time when technologies unite us, the same technology has fractured us, created barriers between us, and these barriers has increased poverty and unemployment too, he says.


The theme for this year's WEF is "Creating a shared Future in a fractured world." The world is facing new challenges to maintain peace, stability and safety, he says.

"The last time an Indian Prime Minister addressed the Davos forum was in 1997. At that time the GDP of India was only 400 billion dollars. Today, it has been increased by over 6 fold," says the Prime Minister.

"I am happy to be in Davos to address the World Economic Forum. This Summit seems to find solutions to the various problems the world faces. I thank the people and Government of Switzerland for the warm welcome here," Mr. Modi says in Davos.

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