At a time when a new wave of protectionism is sweeping America and territorial hegemony is guiding China’s foreign policy, India is ideally positioned to take up the mantle of the new world order and give a push to globalisation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit at Davos reflects the growing clout of India in shaping the course of the global economy. Addressing a gathering of Heads of State, CEOs, business leaders, innovators and policymakers from across the world, Modi not only showcased India’s inherent strengths that make it an ideal investment destination but also unveiled his vision for the country to play a greater role in the world affairs in future. He spoke about the fear that the tides of anti-globalisation were rising and that countries were becoming more ‘self-centered’. The Prime Minister rightly identified three issues — climate change, terrorism and anti-globalisation -– as the major areas of global concern and committed India to the fight against them. Unlike authoritarian China, protectionist America under Donald Trump’s watch and a fractured Europe, India is perfectly placed to seize the initiative and emerge as a global leader. As a democratic and liberal country that never covets other’s territory and always plays by international rules, India is committed to equitable global trade, controlling climate change and the multipolar and norm-following approaches to global security. With almost all sectors being opened up for foreign direct investment and the latest IMF forecast pegging the growth rate at 7.4% this year and 7.8% next year, the coming decades will certainly belong to India as it is set to become a $5-trillion economy by 2025.
Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to address the summit after two decades, was a big draw at the plenary session amid buzz around India’s growth story and its potential to emerge as a new pole in the globalised world. After raising huge expectations among the global leaders gathered at Davos, India now needs to walk the talk by cutting down the red tape and speeding up reforms to create a compelling eco-system to attract investments. Rather than confining himself to being a salesman pitching for investments into India, Modi played the role of a statesman to perfection by highlighting the dangers emanating from protectionism, terrorism and climate change. India has the potential to articulate solutions to the problems that the world is facing and it has a model that is worth emulating. His defence of globalisation came even as Trump slapped extra duties on import of solar equipment. It is time world leaders embraced more open trade policies instead of erecting protectionist barriers to tackle unfavourable economic headwinds.