Modi to Promote India as Investment Destination at World Economic Forum in Davos

United States President Donald Trump would also be attending the event, the White House announced on Jan. 9.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss Alps town of Davos starting Jan. 22 will be like a home away from home, with Indian food and yoga expected to kickstart the event.

The inaugural event on Jan. 22, hosted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India), will showcase “India’s exquisite cuisine and age-old yoga heritage as well as the spirit of a young, innovative New India,” according to the Press Trust of India.

With six union ministers, two chief ministers, several high-level government officials and more than 100 CEOs, India’s 2018 contingent will be the largest-ever. Modi will address a special plenary at the WEF Annual Meeting on Jan. 23, an official release said.

He will interact with global leaders and inform them about India’s progress, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said, adding that the PM is going to Davos at a time when every country wants to invest in India. “This (Davos) has become a center where top decision makers converge. So when prime minister goes there, you see a buzz around that. It will definitely help India to get inbound investment and portray India’s real profile,” Prabhu said, PTI reported.

The annual meeting will be attended by 350 political leaders, including about 60 heads of states, and several top executives of leading global firms. United States President Donald Trump would also be attending the event, the White House announced on Jan. 9.

“The President welcomes opportunities to advance his America First agenda with world leaders,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “At this year’s World Economic Forum, the President looks forward to promoting his policies to strengthen American businesses, American industries, and American workers.”

While Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to attend the WEF summit after Deve Gowda went there in 1997, Trump’s visit assumes significance since no U.S. president has attended the event for 17 years.

Top Indian leaders like Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region of India Jitendra Singh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana minister KT Rama Rao are expected to take part in the event.

Corporate bigwigs like Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, Lakshmi Mittal and son Aditya, Sunil Mittal and son Kavin, Nandan Nilekani, Indra Nooyi, Azim Premji, Ajay Piramal, Ajay Singh, Naresh Goyal and Tulsi Tanti have also registered.

In 2017, China’s President Xi Jinping addressed the annual event. “There’s no point blaming economic globalization for the world’s problems,” he said, “as that is simply not the case.”

This year, China will have a large delegation as well.

The organization that hosts world’s biggest leaders annually said it is “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.” In the past, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, former Member Secretary of Planning Commission (India) Sudha Pillai and Naidu have attended the event.

The event has been criticized in the past as a mere networking opportunity for the oligarchs, politicians and elites of the world. Renowned philosopher Noam Chomsky has also criticized the organization’s push for globalization for being only investor friendly.

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