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Watch Modi at Davos World Economic Forum

Davos (ABC Live): India will be the world’s fastest growing major economy in 2018, according the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook update.

India’s GDP has been growing at around 7% per year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office back in 2014, and next year India’s economy will beone-third bigger than when he came to power. However, major economic and social challenges – such as income inequality, gender disparity and extreme levels of pollution – persist.

Is India ready to capitalize on this rapid economic growth and assume its role as a major global player?

After introductory remarks by the Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab, and President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset, the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy takes the stage.

The last time an Indian PM was in Davos, 21 years ago, India’s GDP was around $400bn. Today, it’s six times that, says Modi.

This is creating the greatest opportunities, but also huge challenges, says the Indian PM.

Rapidly changing technology could lead us to prosperity, but it is also creating fault lines.

Is our global order widening these fault lines? How can we eliminate these rifts, and realise the dream of a beautiful shared future, Modi asks.

In order to fight the challenges we face, we must overcome the lack of consensus that exists between nations, he adds.

Modi then lists what he says are the three main challenges that post the greatest threat to the survival of civilization as we know it.

In 1997, there were no signs of Brexit or the Asian financial crisis. Google was yet to be launched. Tweeting was something that was done by birds, not humans, says Modi.

Now, some two decades later, we live in a society that is a network of other complex networks. Today, we are living in the world of big data, AI and robots. Technology has impacted every aspect of our lives.

 

This is creating the greatest opportunities, but also huge challenges, says the Indian PM.

Rapidly changing technology could lead us to prosperity, but it is also creating fault lines.

Is our global order widening these fault lines? How can we eliminate these rifts, and realise the dream of a beautiful shared future, Modi asks.

In order to fight the challenges we face, we must overcome the lack of consensus that exists between nations, he adds.

Modi then lists what he says are the three main challenges that post the greatest threat to the survival of civilization as we know it.

The ice caps are melting, islands are sinking. Floods, drought, we see the impact of extreme weather events everywhere, he says.

Everyone talks about reducing carbon emissions, but there are very few countries that back their words with resources and help emerging countries.

We have moved from frugal consumption to needs-based consumption, to greed consumption, Modi says. Is this development, or our downfall, he asks.

Modi announces that by 2022, India will produce 175 gigawatts of renewable energy. In recent years, it’s been a third of that.

The second great challenge is terrorism.

Terrorism is dangerous, he says, but equally dangerous is the artificial distinction between good and bad terrorists. He also hopes that the world can find a solution to the radicalization of young people.

Thirdly, more and more countries are becoming focused on themselves. The opposite of globalization is happening, says Modi.

Everyone is talking about an interconnected world, but we have to realize that globalization is losing its lustre.

The forces of protectionism are raising their heads. They want to reverse the natural flow of globalization, he adds.

Bilateral trade agreements have come to a standstill. Most nations have seen a decrease in cross-border investment. Growth in the global supply chain has been stopped.

The big changes that have taken place in India in recent years, for 1.25 billion Indians, mean that India is now capable of building a $5 trillion economy by 2025, Modi says.

About Andrew

Mr. Robert Andrew is Geneva based Research Journalist reports for ABC Live on super specialized subjects from all around the Europe.

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