Modi cautions against growing protectionism

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Davos, Jan 23 : Pitching for India as a global destination for investment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cautioned the world against growing protectionism and rise in tariff and non-tariff barriers that are impeding global trade even as he spoke of climate change, terrorism and “self centrism” as the biggest challenges facing the world.

Addressing the plenary session of the World Economic Forum, he said there was a need for reform of the international institutions for economic and political security in keeping with the ground realities.

Speaking about India, Modi emphasised on the reforms brought by his government in the last three years saying the government had replaced red tape with red carpet and laid the roadmap for transformative change.

“Today investing in India, travel to India, work in India, manufacture in India, production and exports from India to the rest of the world is easier than before as we have decided to eliminate the ‘licence-permit raj’ and finish the red tape.” 

The Prime Minister said now in India foreign direct investment was possible in more than 90 per cent of the sectors through the automatic route. In the last three and a half years, the government has abolished 1,400 outdated laws.

Projecting democracy, demography and dynamism as instruments that were helping India in development, he said all his welfare schemes were aimed at uplifting all sections without any discrimnation and “development for all as its motto”.

“These reforms have given the youth an impetus to work for making India a $5 trillion economy by 2025.” he said. Innovation and entrepreneurship were giving the youth opporutnities to turn job givers rather than being job seekers.

Modi is the first Prime Minister from India to participate in a forum meeting in two decades after H.D. Deve Gowda in 1997.

“There are many challenges before the world. But I think there are three main challenges which pose biggest threat to the global community.

“Terrorism is every government’s concern. Terrorism is even more dreadful when we do an artificial difference between good and bad terrorism.”

Modi said many societies and countries were becoming self-centred. “It seems globalization, opposed to its definition, is shrinking. Everybody talks about inter-connceted world, but it seems globalisation is fading.

“We believe progress and development can be truly called development when everyone can partake in it.”

This is Modi’s second visit to Switzerland in nearly two years. He will interact with 120 members of the International Business Council, which is a part of the WEF.

Modi, in the course of his 24-hour visit to Davos, is also scheduled to hold a meeting with Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.