The World Economic Forum was perhaps the biggest platform for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pitch the country as a global investment destination and tell the world that India means business. And, he didn't disappoint. From the Prime Minister's strong-but-inclusive pitch at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum 2018, it was clear that he not only wanted the largest gathering of rich and powerful to hear India's growth story, but also see its blueprint to become the 'future superpower'.
Uday Kotak, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, said the Prime Minster was able to strike all right chords in his opening address. "A lot has been said on terrorism, and fair amount has been said on climate change. I was enthused by his position on protectionism. His statement that we're making the world narrow by going for protectionism, and that it is here that India will stand out was a big statement. PM Modi has taken leadership in the whole area of what is the World Economic Forum (WEF). It was all about environment, call for inclusiveness, and anti-protectionism. So in essence he hit all the right buttons."
So is it right time now to compare India with China? "It's not about comparison. I think it's India's turn now. When the world is going inward, India is open for globalisation. Huge investment can come to India in all sectors. He has also taken stand on much larger issues of social nature like climate change, which affects everybody," said Rajan Bharti Mittal, MD, Bharti Enterprises, adding that it was a great honour that a PM had visited Davos after a gap of 20 years. "He has the will to do things, he has the mandate, and people are recognising his position."
"It was a powerful message. This was team India's moment at Davos. And the Indian captain hit not one but many sixes. He reminded the world what an old country this was. What old wisdom India has and how it can be applied to solve global issues. He spoke about big data, AI and digital India - it was an incredible juxtaposition of old India and new India," said Ajay Singh, CEO, SpiceJet.
On asking about Prime Minister Modi's vision for his Davos address, Mahindra and Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra on Monday said: "I think he has recognised the WEF is today's one-stop-destination to put forward your vision, which I presume is going to be Prime Minister Modi's vision too. In essence, he is here to tell the world his 'Mann Ki Baat'."
He added: "I think his timing - decision to visit Davos to address the world's who's who at the WEF - is perfect that shows India is ready to play a big role."
After his speech at the mega event on Tuesday, the PM met a group of Indian CEOs including Chanda Kochhar, Uday Kotak, Rahul Bajaj, Naresh Goyal, N. Chandrasekaran, Sunil Mittal, Ravi Ruia, Chandrajit Bannerjee and Anand Mahindra. "Together we can! Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Indian CEOs present at the WEF working hand in hand towards a brighter future for the country," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. He also tweeted another picture of PM Modi with international CEOs saying "the world applauds 1.3 billion people of India at the WEF in Davos, and appreciate the remarkable transformation in improving the business climate."