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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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In WEF Davos debut, Indian PM Modi defends globalization

Action on climate change and economic cooperation

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DAVOS, Switzerland - Making his debut at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mounted a defense of globalization, in what many analysts believe was a swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump’s America First agenda.

In what was the first speech by an Indian head of state in more than two decades, Modi urged joint action on climate change and economic cooperation.

While the Indian Prime Minister did not mention Trump by name, he criticized the rise of protectionism.

Modi, who spoke in Hindi, said in his remarks, “Instead of globalization, the power of protectionism is putting its head up. Their wish is not only to save themselves from globalization, but to change the natural flow of globalization.”

Modi, who arrived in Davos on Monday for a one-day trip, was marred by travel delays like the arrival of several other leaders, as heavy snow in the ski resort town made it impossible for Modi to take a helicopter to Davos from Zurich and the roads were clogged with traffic.

The Indian Prime Minister, who is leading a large government and business delegation to the summit in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, made the opening address, in what international analysts dubbed as a moment of personal triumph for the nationalist leader who was once shunned by the West.

Modi used his speech to propagate India’s growth as an economic and geopolitical power, saying India is one of the world’s fastest growing major economies.

Modi highlighted reforms and policies his administration had undertaken to make India more open and said his government had abolished some 1,400 archaic laws.

He said, “We are removing red tape and laying the red carpet. India is removing the red tape and laying out the red carpet. Almost all areas of our economy have been opened to foreign direct investment. More than 1400 archaic laws that were an obstacle to doing business have been abolished in the last three years.”

Modi laid out three big challenges facing the world which included climate change, terrorism and growing protectionism.

He said, “The result of this is that we are seeing new types of tariff and non-tariff-based barriers being imposed. Bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations appear to have come to a halt.”

He added that the world must come together to solve these issues and India could show it the way.

Further, highlighting that climate change was a major threat to the world, yet the world had failed to come together to tackle it, Modi said everyone wanted carbon emissions to be cut, but the rich world was not ready to help developing economies with new technology.

Meanwhile, in the political and business circle, the U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech, one of the most anticipated one at the World Economic Forum is scheduled for Friday.

 

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