Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar
After several top industrialists and CEOs pledged investment in Gujarat in short speeches, World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim took stage at the inaugural session of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, exhorting India to lead economic growth and a reduction in poverty. (Track LIVE updates
"We project India will be a bright spot in otherwise mediocre global growth," Mr Kim said, adding that he was encouraged by the government's recent reform moves like its steps to implement the Goods and Services Tax or GST.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a "visionary leader", who is "building blocks for further Indian growth."
"We have to ensure that the poorest 40 per cent living in developing countries get benefited by economic progress," the World Bank chief said, adding that "India has to grow rapidly... our success is closely tied to India's success."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called upon India's business community to "lead to inclusive growth". "Sustainable goals are supposed to be transformational," he said, and "India is in a unique position to lead sustainable growth."
The country, he said, is in a "strong emerging position", since half of its population is below the age of 25, which translates into great potential.
The World Bank chief, the UN Secretary General, US Secretary of State John Kerry and more than 50 business leaders from across the world are attending the three-day summit, counting on PM Modi to unleash big-bang reforms and create one of the few bright spots in a troubled world economy.
Prime Minister Modi will speak soon at the inaugural session of the biennial event that he founded as Gujarat's chief minister in 2003. He is expected to turn it into a pitch for 'Vibrant India' and promote his 'Make in India' campaign launched last year to boost the manufacturing sector and create millions of jobs.
India's top industrialists, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance and Kumar Mangalam Birla of the Aditya Birla Group, promised investments worth thousands of crores and Sam Walsh, the CEO of Rio Tinto Group promised to add 30,000 jobs in Gujarat's diamond-cutting industry. (Read: Birlas, Ambanis Start With a Chunk of Investments