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World Economic Forum: What will Modi say?

Leaders across the Globe will gather at Davos, in the Swiss Alps, for the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister since HD Deve Gowda in 1997 to attend the annual meet. As he seeks to woo Business leaders from around the world to boost his Make in India initiative, special delicacies from the Indian cuisine will excite the taste buds of the foreign delegates. India will host a welcome reception for the WEF members with Narendra Modi to present the inaugural keynote address.

Yoga will feature at the WEF for the first time in its history, with one session each in the morning and evening.  “We are showcasing various achievements, we will also give a taste of Indian cuisine, a taste of culture and heritage,” Ramesh Abhishek, heads of the department of industrial policy and promotion, told reporters.

Nearly 2000 CEOs from top companies around the world will participate in the annual meeting of the WEF. The Indian delegation to the forum, largest with its 130 participants, will include stalwarts from the country such as Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani.

Last year, Xi Jinping firmly staked his claim as a global leader and pitched China as a credible alternative to fill the vacuum that was expected to be created following the “America First” foreign policy of the United States under President Donald Trump. Amidst tensions with China over Doklam and India’s attempt to attract global investors, the keynote address by Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum is expected to be of similar significance. India has been trying to present itself as a potential alternative to China as the manufacturing hub of the world and Narendra Modi will pursue the same objectives in his visit to the forum. Although the speech is expected to focus primarily on the economy, it will not be surprising if the Indian Prime Minister drops hints on India’s geopolitical concerns and ambitions.

Apart from his keynote address, Narendra Modi will have a bilateral meeting with the Swiss President Alain Berset where the two leaders are expected to talk about mutual participation and commitment towards global initiatives. The Prime Minister will also interact with 120 members of the business community on January 23rd. Other than Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Jitendra Singh and MJ Akbar will also address sessions at the WEF.

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