WEF summit: Modi to deliver keynote speech to 3,000 global leaders in Davos

WEF founder Klaus Schwab. (Photo: Reuters)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Switzerland on January 22 on a two-day visit during which he will deliver the keynote address at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

This will be the first participation by an Indian prime minister in the WEF in over two decades. In 1997, the then prime minister H D Deve Gowda had attended the Davos Summit.

Announcing the prime ministerial visit on Monday, the external affairs ministry, in a statement, said the prime minister will also have a bilateral meeting with Alain Berset, the President of the Swiss Confederation on January 22.

The theme for this year's WEF is 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World'.

"Prime Minister will deliver the keynote speech at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos- Klosters, Switzerland, on January 23, 2018," the ministry said.

The plenary session will be moderated by Prof Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman, WEF.

To be attended by over 3,000 global leaders, including CEOs, heads of state and government, artists and civil society members, the Davos Annual Meeting of WEF will conclude on January 26.

The WEF, which describes itself as an international organisation for public-private cooperation and was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation, hosts its annual meeting in Davos every year in January.

In a statement last month announcing its co-chairs for the 2018 meeting, the WEF had said that over 3,000 leaders, representing 100 countries, will gather in a collaborative effort to shape the global, regional and industry agendas, with a commitment to improve the state of the world.

Desi cuisine and yoga will mark the start of the five-day annual jamboree of the rich and powerful from across the world in the snow-laden Swiss ski resort town of Davos. This is the first time India will host the welcome reception at the summit.

The Indian presence is set to be the largest-ever with as many as six Union ministers, two chief ministers, several top government officials and over 100 CEOs, figuring among the registered participants.

The official sessions at the WEF will also have special India-focused discussions including one on "India's role in the world", how it is rethinking economics with the use of big data in policymaking and the country's role in securing peace and stability in the Asian century.

The registered participants from India, include Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region of India Jitendra Singh.

Others expected to be present at the elite global gathering are Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with a number of his cabinet colleagues, as well as Pakistan People's Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

China is also expected to have a significant presence and its Belt Road Initiative will feature as a key theme in a number of panel discussions, including those attended by Pakistani leaders.

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