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Last updated: 20 Jan, 2018  

WEF.9.Thmb.jpg Modi to attend World Economic Forum annual meeting

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SME Times News Bureau | 20 Jan, 2018

In the first prime ministerial participation from India in two decades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend this year's World Economic Forum to be held in Davos, Switzerland.

WEF is an international body, based in Geneva, Switzerland. It prime objective is to improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas

The Forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, economists, and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.

Previously, Indian Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda attended the forum in 1997.


Explaining the significance of Modi's visit, Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that in 1997, the Indian economy was well below $1 trillion whereas it is now above $2 trillion.

"The main event is the keynote speech the Prime Minister will give at the plenary session on January 23," Gokhale said.

"There will also be a bilateral engagement with the President of Switzerland and there will be occasions for pull-asides with other leaders as and when these are fixed and depending on the requirements."

Gokhale said this visit is going to be a signal that India is "engaging with the rest of the world in a very multi-dimensional way".

"This is occurring at a time when India's attractiveness as an economy has grown," he stated.

"There has been a quantum jump in our rankings in multiple indices and in the context of the recent reforms that the government has announced, particularly in the last one year. The focus, therefore, is for our Prime Minister to articulate his vision of how he sees the Indian economy as contributing not only to the domestic improvement but also on a global scale."

Giving details of Modi's programme in Davos, Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said there will be a dinner on January 22 which will be attended by CEOs of 60 companies.

Of these, 40 will be from 18 different countries, while 20 will be from India. These 60 companies are across 26 different sectors.

"The market cap of these companies is $3.3 trillion," Abhishek said. "If it had been a country it would have been the fifth largest in the world."

He said these companies have created four million jobs around the world of which one million are in India. Twelve companies have been operating in India for over a century.

"We are looking forward to the Prime Minister's interaction with the CEOs because of the opportunities that India provides today in terms of various sectors, ease of doing business and so on," Abhishek said.

Among those attending the dinner will be the heads of Airbus group, Hitachi group, BAE Systems, IBM, and the Carlyle group.

On January 23, Modi will interact with 120 members of the International Business Council which is a part of the WEF. This will include the CEO of General Motors, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, and the Executive Directors of BASF, Nestle, and J.P. Morgan Chase.

On January 22, DIPP will also be organising a reception in which 1500 delegates are expected to participate.

"We will be showcasing the various achievements that India has made in the last few years in terms of ease of doing business, in terms of massive opportunities in future," Abhishek said.

Asked if Modi will have a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump, Gokhale said the two leaders will not be present in Davos at the same time. He also said that there is no meeting planned with Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

After Modi, Finace Minister Arun Jaitley, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Development of the Northestern Region Jitendra Singh, and Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar will also participate in different sessions of the annual event.

 
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