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Davos to witness largest ever Indian presence in 48 year history of WEF summit


(G.N.S) Dt. 22

New Delhi

Eminent banker Uday Kotak, a Davos veteran who has been attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in this Swiss ski resort town for years, said India needs to understand the subtle difference between sales and marketing, and present the India story accordingly while positioning itself in the role of a statesman.

Spicejet CEO Ajay Singh, who has himself steered a major turnaround in a sector like aviation, said India has a great story to tell at Davos and there can be no one better than Prime Minister Modi to tell this story.

Top banker Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, who has also been a regular here, said the Indian economy is seeing broad-based improvement across several sectors and is on track for a robust growth that can be tapped by one and all.

Speaking to media, a number of Indian CEOs present here said the global community is waiting to hear from Prime Minister Modi and his speech is generating even more interest because the US president is also likely to come later at this summit with his America First pitch and how he has lowered the corporate tax rates and made the American corporations bring back jobs and profits from abroad to the US.

Modi will deliver the keynote speech at the plenary session of the WEF tomorrow.

Before his departure from India, Modi had said he will share his vision for India’s future engagements with international community in Davos, and will seek “serious attention” of world leaders on existing and emerging challenges to the contemporary global systems.

“The existing and emerging challenges to the contemporary international system and global governance architecture deserve serious attention of leaders, governments, policy makers, corporates and civil societies around the world,” he tweeted.

“I look forward to my first visit to the World Economic Forum at Davos, at the invitation of India’s good friend and Founder of the WEF, Professor Klaus Schwab,” he said, while describing the theme of the forum, ‘Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’ as “both thoughtful and apt”.

The comments assume significance as several leaders are expected to talk about various risks facing the world, including those from economic protectionism and differences between various world powers. The Summit is also being attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, among other leaders.

Spicejet’s Singh said Modi has a great story to tell about significant reforms undertaken in India and even a greater story about 1.4 billion Indians, a young population and a massive market for the world.

“When we saw Chinese premier Xi Jinping here last year, there was a lot of focus on China and it is natural that there would be a lot of focus on India this time,” Singh said.

Singh said he and all other Indian CEOs are already seeing overflowing meeting requests and there is certainly a lot of interest in India this time.

In the largest ever Indian presence in the 48-year history of WEF summit in this Swiss ski resort town, more than 130 Indian CEOs are present along with over 2,000 business leaders and 70 heads of states and governments. Besides, several other leaders from politics, business, academia, art, culture and civil society are also present at the event which opens today and will close on Friday.

Pitching for a nuanced message here at WEF to present India as an open economy that cares for the interest of domestic as well as global audience, Kotak said, “We need to position ourselves at this forum as a statesman and not just a salesman.”

He also said it is a very big opportunity for India to demonstrate the new India we are building.

Kochhar said Indian economy is seeing broad-based improvement across all sectors and should clock 7 per cent growth in the second half of the current fiscal.

She also said reforms have fast tracked the process of digitisation and formalisation of Indian economy and the country is on track to again attain the fastest growth rate in the world.

What Trump can learn from PM Modi

US President Donald Trump is facing tough conditions in the US as the nation is currently staring at a shutdown. On the other hand, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is riding high on his party’s success in various state assembly polls. Surely, there is a lot which President Trump can learn from our PM Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a landslide victory in 2014, promising to make India a world leader. Similarly, Donald Trump won in 2016 riding on an election campaign that highlighted his promise of reviving America’s image as a ‘world leader’. How far has the two leader been successful, in delivering their promises is debatable but Prime Minister Modi is surely getting media coverage across the world as a revolutionary and a visionary leader. On the other hand, Trump has been baffling the world media with his unexpected moves and statements. After nearly four years as a Prime Minister, Modi’s popularity still pays for his party, the BJP, in the assembly elections, as per several political experts while Trump doesn’t has much credibility left as per various polls conducted.

In dis situation, a recent Forbes article points out that their is a lot that President Trump can learn from PM Modi to revive his fortunes. Starting from the social media, where both PM Modi and Trump has over three crore followers, but, the manner of interaction by the two leaders is totally different. Trump offers his opinion on things frequently, and is not afraid to show his anger or irritation. He lashes out heavily at his opponents and also on other countries. Take for instance, his recent tweet against Pakistan. dis is where Modi is very different. He is extremely restrained and communicates formally. His Twitter feed is usually just a list of things he did for the day. Or he wishes people, especially other politicians, on their birthdays. Modi also advertises policy announcements. It is impossible to assess what the prime minister of India is thinking by going through his Twitter feed, which is not the case with the US president.

Trump’s 2016 campaign also bears similarities to Modi’s 2014 election campaign. Trump’s slogan, ‘Let’s make America great again’, is often compared to Modi’s ‘achhe din’ battle cry or his present ‘New India’ vision. However, in a glaring difference between the two, Modi keeps highlighting his vision while inaugurating or laying foundation of any project, while Trump, after becoming the President, has limited himself to slamming his opponents. Modi, who is still seen as a PM standing for Hindutva by many, has reached out to the minorities as well. With the recent Triple Talaq Bill, he won over the Muslim women vote bank, if media surveys are anything to go by. While Trump, who is seen as a protector of jobs of the White Americans, hasn’t yet reached out to the Blacks and the immigrants in the United States, so far. Another area, where Trump can follow Modi’s footprints is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a conscious effort to focus only on “vikas” (development) through his campaign, which has been instrumental for BJP’s win in various state assembly polls.

Both Modi and Trump no their brands well, but while Modi has been astute and cautious about his, Trump has been ‘overplaying’ himself, according to many political blogs. Before concluding, we can cite a most recent example to outline the different approaches of the two leaders. While Modi will give the keynote address at the opening session of the 48th annual World Economic Forum, Trump’s presence at the event (to be held in Davos, Switzerland) is still doubtful.

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