India hosts welcome reception at WEF summit, Modi holds talks with Swiss President

Narendra Modi will deliver the keynote address at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) plenary session in Davos on Tuesday.

Davos Summit 2018 Updated: Jan 23, 2018 04:10 IST
World Economic Forum,Narendra Modi,WEF
Swiss Federal President Alain Berset, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shake hands prior to a meeting one day before the start of the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos on Monday.(AP)

India hosted the welcome reception at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Swiss President Alain Berset in Davos as the annual gathering of the rich and the powerful began on Monday.

More than 130 participants from India will attend the meeting where the official sessions will kick off with the opening plenary address by Modi on Tuesday. The first Indian PM to attend the summit in two decades, Modi will share his vision for India’s future engagements with the international community.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, industrialist Mukesh Ambani, cine star Shah Rukh Khan, who won a special award for championing human rights, and filmmaker Karan Johar, among others, were present at Monday’s reception where samosa and kachori were served.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets officials on his arrival at Zurich International Airport to participate in the World Economic Forum. (PTI)

After reaching Davos on Monday, Modi discussed with the Swiss President ways to deepen bilateral ties. The two leaders “reviewed the scope of our bilateral cooperation”, Modi said in a tweet.

Berset said the discussions marked the meeting of the biggest and the oldest democracies in the world. Thanking Modi, he said his country will continue to strengthen “our relations” with India.

“First engagement in snowing #Davos, PM @narendramodi met with Swiss President @alain_berset. Two leaders had productive discussions on steps to further deepen our bilateral cooperation built upon our shared values of democracy and diversity. #IndiaMeansBusiness,” an external affairs ministry spokesperson tweeted.

Sources said the two leaders are also believed to have discussed the progress on automatic exchange of tax information. A legislation in this regard has been passed by the Swiss Parliament, following which banks and financial institutions have begun collecting data for the first exchange that is to begin from next year.

Negotiations on EFTA (European Free Trade Association) trade pact and the bilateral investment protection agreement were also discussed, among various business and trade matters, they added.

Modi will interact with global business community members on Tuesday, besides delivering the keynote address. In a first at the WEF summit, India will also host yoga training sessions for the entire duration of the meeting, while also showcasing Indian heritage and culture.

The theme for this year’s summit is ‘Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’.

In a statement on Sunday, Modi said India’s engagement with the outside world in the recent years has become “truly and effectively multi- dimensional covering the political, economic, people to people, security and other spheres”.

More than 3,000 world leaders from business, politics, art, academia and civil society would be attending the 48th WEF annual meeting, which saw Pope Francis sending a special message.

In a speech delivered by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Pope Francis said: “It is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favour the family.”

Earlier in the day, WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab declared the summit open, with the ski-resort receiving record snowfall.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 01:51 IST