DAVOS, Switzerland – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi used on Tuesday his first-ever speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos to warn that globalization was losing its luster in the face of rising protectionism, and stressed that isolationism was not a solution to discontent.
Modi outlined three global threats – climate change, terrorism and protectionism – while also taking time to promote India as a fast-growing economy open to investment in a wide-ranging speech to the world’s economic and political leaders gathered at the upscale Swiss ski resort.
“Forces of protectionism are raising their heads against globalization,” said the Indian PM, the first to make an appearance at Davos since 1997.
“They not only want to save themselves from globalization by reverse its flow,” he added in his keynote, which was delivered in Hindi.
Modi said globalization was losing its radiance and, as a result, trade barriers were being imposed that have brought international trade negotiations to a stand-still.
He warned against isolationist politics and, borrowing a quote from Indian activist Mahatma Ghandi, said his own government’s economic policy was thus: “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”
The nationalist leader took the opportunity to highlight India’s economic development as well as its potential as a leading global economy and a place for international investment.
“We are removing the red tape and laying the red carpet (for investors),” Modi said, insisting that he hoped to almost double India’s economy by 2025.
He urged world institutions to put more effort into the fight against climate change and said some nations were not living up to environmental pledges.
Speaking on terror, the PM warned against making “artificial” differentiations between notions of good and bad terrorism and underlined his concern about the radicalization of young people.