Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday listed climate change, terrorism and protectionism as the major challenges threatening the future of humanity. He was delivering the keynote address at the World Economic Forum’s plenary session in Switzerland’s Davos.

Modi urged all countries across the world to come together to fight global warming as extreme weather conditions are rising by the day. “The ice caps in the Arctic are melting and many islands are sinking or are about to sink.”

The Indian government has, to fight climate change, set a target of producing 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022, he said, adding that it has achieved a generation capacity of 60 gigawatts in the last three years. He also urged other nations to lower carbon emissions as “it is the least we can do”.

While speaking about the threats posed by terrorism, the prime minister said “the artificial divide created between good and bad terrorists” is most dangerous. “It is painful to see some youngsters getting radicalised.”


The third challenge is protectionism, the prime minister said, adding that the world must realise that globalisation is slowly losing its shine. “In complete contrast to globalisation, countries are encouraging protectionism by creating new and artificial barriers for trade,” Modi said. “Several nations are suffering due to this and the global supply chain is being affected.”

Importance of technology

The world also faces challenges in terms of economic outlook and security, Modi said. “Transformation driven by technology is taking place everywhere, and data presents us with great opportunities to solve such issues,” he said. “We are not just a networked society, but today there is big data, artificial intelligence and robots.”

Data, however, also presents us with its own challenges. “Whoever controls data is the most powerful and can shape the world,” the prime minister added.

The four Ds

In India, Modi said, democracy, demographic and dynamism are helping development. He also spoke about the government’s vision for development, “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” at the global stage, and claimed that more than 600 crore voters in India, for the first time in 30 years, “voted a single party to power at the Centre”.

The Indian government has abolished more than 1,400 archaic laws in the last three years, the prime minster said. “We are not merely bringing about minor reforms, but radical changes.” The path that the government has selected is of “reform, perform and transform”, he added.

Modi is the first Indian prime minister to attend the Davos summit in 20 years. The last time an Indian prime minister had travelled to Davos was in 1997. “Prime Minister HD Dewe Gowda visited Davos, and at that time, the Gross Domestic Product of the country was somewhere around $400 billion [approximately Rs 25 lakh crore] only,” he said. “Today, two decades later, it has grown about six times.”

Goods and Services Tax

Modi also told the world leaders present at the event that it is easier to work, travel and manufacture in India as all sectors have been opened up for foreign direct investment.

“India has cut red tape and removed artificial borders within the nation by introducing one nation, one tax in the form of Goods and Services Tax,” he said. “The citizens have also recognised the importance of our policies and have given up subsidies on various schemes.”

On Monday, Modi met the top chief executive officers of global companies at a round table meeting in Davos, where he presented opportunities for global businesses in India.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum on Monday ranked India 62nd out of 77 emerging economies on an “inclusive development index”. India has been ranked lower than China (26th), Pakistan (47th) and two other Brics members.