Davos: It has been a long time since an Indian Prime Minister last visited Davos. Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonstrated just how long, as he delivered his debut speech at the opening of the World Economic Forum.
An Indian PM last came to Davos in 1997. That was when Harry Potter was an unheard name, tweeting was done only by birds and Amazon referred to dense forests, PM Modi quipped.
"There was no Euro, no Asian financial crisis, no sign of Brexit. Very few had heard of Osama bin Laden and Harry Potter also unknown," he grinned.
Chess players were not in danger of losing to the computer and Google had not emerged in the cyberspace.
"In 1997, if you looked for Amazon, you would get information about rivers and dense forests. Tweeting was the job of birds, not humans," he said.
That year, when then prime minister HD Deve Gowda visited Davos, India's GDP was only a little over 400 billion dollars. "Today, it has grown six times," PM Modi said.
The theme of Davos that year was "building the network society". Twenty-one years later, he said, given the technological and digital advances, that subject "seems centuries old".
"Today we are not only a complex, networked society but we are living in the world of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Cobot."
But even then, said the Prime Minister, Davos was ahead of its time and offered a glimpse into the future.
"The world is changing fast today and there are new and serious challenges related to peace and security and various other matters," he remarked, adding, "Mountains of data are getting created and there is a race to control those as the feeling is that the one who gets control of this data would rule the world."
Mr Modi is the first Indian PM to address the World Economic Forum at Davos, a gathering of the world's political and business elite.