Narendra Modi to be first PM to attend World Economic Forum in 20 years


NEW DELHI, Dec. 25: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his maiden appearance at Davos, the Alpine ski resort where the world's top CEOs and a large number of heads of government gather for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in January.
Modi will be the first Indian PM to attend the meet in over two decades but officials said, it will be the first time that an Indian Prime Minister will be the treated like the chief guest with the country expected to dominate the show, where nearly a hundred Indian corporate chiefs and policymakers will be present.

"The India theme will be in focus at the conference with several sessions around India," said an official, pointing out that there is a lot of interest to invest in the country.

Last January, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered the main address in Davos where he courted global businessmen and made a strong pitch to shun protectionism, in what was an apparent dig at the US ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration later in the month.

Typically, Indian PMs have avoided the event as it clashes with the Republic Day celebrations but Modi has decided to pack his already hectic January calendar with a trip to Switzerland with the event scheduled for January 23-26.

He will return to India to welcome Asean leaders for the Republic Day, which will be followed by the start of the budget session of Parliament.

In the past only two Indian PMs - PV Narasimha Rao and HD Deve Gowda - have gone to Davos with the last one being in 1997.




Like the past, 30-40 heads of government are expected to be Davos, which will give India an opportunity to show case its policies as well as soft power through food, art and culture. TOI

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