The morning of 23rd January 2018 was chilly, with slow yet cold winds. The temperature reached almost 5 degree Celsius and the heads of some of the most powerful states in the world in the city of Davos were wrapped in warm clothing as they moved about attending different meetings and conferences. The atmosphere was filled with buzz as the World Economic Forum was about to begin. The economy of the world for 2018 was going to be discussed and the economy of the world from 2017 was going to be analyzed. This happens every year at the event. But this time there was something special, Narendra Modi was present at the conference, the first Indian prime minister present at the conference after at least 20 years.
“In a world that is filled with fault lines and rifts, we need to build a shared future.” – Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.
In his speech at the World Economic Forum, Narendra Modi said that “climate change, terrorism and backlash against globalization” are the three main challenges which humanity faces right now. This statement holds true. Climate change is real and countries must come together to face this challenge. Climate change does not respect political boundaries, it transgresses them. We cannot live in isolation and combat it alone. We need to take actions not as citizens of different countries but as a single society. Only then will we be able to ensure a happy and prosperous future for our succeeding generations. “We have not inherited this world from our ancestors. We have borrowed it from our children.”
The second great threat that humanity faces is terrorism. Today, countries all over the globe face the problem of terrorism. It is not a crime to voice one’s opinion; but it is a crime to pick up arms to do the same. The time has arrived for countries to come together in solidarity and combat the threat of terrorism. Just like climate change, terrorism is no longer respecting political boundaries. Nations are now commonly affected due to the violent actions carried out by terrorist organizations. It should be the utmost priority of the nations to ensure that it (terrorism) does not proliferate and should be curbed. If not by force, peaceful negotiations should be attempted so that further loss of life does not take place. But it has to come to an end. Governments spend immense amount of resources on combating terrorism, when the same resources could be diverted towards developmental activities like education, healthcare, infrastructure development etc.
“Everyone is talking about an interconnected world, but we will have to accept the fact that globalization is slowing losing its lustre.” – Narendra Modi at Davos.
The third great threat is retreating from globalization. Governments across the world are becoming increasingly self-centered. Especially the developed countries, whose support is needed by the developing countries. The current trend which is taking place is the opposite of globalization. The most affected by this trend are the developing countries who have experienced a reduction in cross-border investments, trade deals breaking down and barriers being raised against globalization. It is essential to realize that the solution is not isolation, but more interaction between nations.
World Economic Forum (W.E.F.) was established 47 years ago in January 1971. Its meetings take place annually in the Swiss city of Davos at the end of January. The meeting brings together approximately 2,500 business leaders, political leaders, economists and celebrities etc. to discuss on the issues the world is facing and improve public-private co-operation. Majority of the sitting Prime Ministers did not attend this event due to its reputation of being considered ‘elite.’ That it would not play out politically well back in India. The last Prime Minister to attend the event before Narendra Modi was H.D. Deve Gowda in 1997.
India stands to gain a lot from the W.E.F. due to the stature of this platform. Especially since we addressed the plenary session of the forum. Narendra Modi’s speech was considered to be one like that of a statesman. We were represented as a nation which was a global leader. We were regarded so by other heads of states and this is what we need. There are economic advantages too. As aforementioned, even some of the leading private business leaders were present at the forum. It was an opportunity for them to witness what potential India holds for them and what we could offer to them back. They can and will be tempted to come to India. We can only hope for positive effects from this event and time will tell us how.