Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged with a namaste the loud applause as he was introduced as the keynote speaker at this year's World Economic Forum's plenary session at the Swiss mountain resort of Davos. Speaking in Hindi, PM Modi is showcasing the India growth story to world leaders and global CEOs, also calling for countries to unite to tackle what he called the three big challenges that the world faces - "climate change, terrorism and an increased self-centredness."
Here are the highlights from Prime Minister Modi's speech:
Namaskar, I am delighted to be here in Davos for the 48th meeting of the World Economic Forum.
I thank the government and citizens of Switzerland for the warm welcome. The last time an Indian PM came to Davos was in 1997 when Deve Gowda came here.
In 1997, India's GDP was little over $400 billion. Now it has grown more than six times. In 1997, the Euro wasn't in circulation, Brexit hadn't happened, the world hadn't heard of Osama bin laden or Harry Potter. It was a time when chess players weren't at risk of losing to computers, Google wasn't there and if you searched for Amazon, you would find information about jungles and rivers. It was a time when only birds tweeted. Today, two decades later, the world and society are complex networks.
Even at that time Davos was ahead of its time, as it is today.
The subject of Davos meet this time is 'Creating A Shared Future In A Fractured World'.
There are fast moving economical and political changes in the world. Peace, stability, security face new and serious challenges.
A technology-driven world has affected all aspects of our society. Social media is a big example of how technology is being used to join, bend and break our world. There is a race after data because it is said, that the one who controls data will dominate the world.
On one hand science, technology and economic progress can lead mankind to progress, but on the other hand, it can cause painful wounds. Many of the changes are creating walls that are making the path to peace a difficult one.
In this environment, there are many important questions that demand an answer for the future of humanity. Is our progress deepening our rifts? We have to overcome obstacles and distances for a bright future. In India, we have always believed in unifying people, not dividing them. Indian philosophers have said for thousands of years that the world is one family.
We are tied together as one family, a shared thread binds us. This philosophy is relevant to tackle the divides and distances of our times. But it is true that we face a lack of consensus in ways to overcome them. There are differences even within families, but when there are challenges, we must all come together to face them.
Friends, the challenges that I am alluding to are many and widespread, but given the limited time that we have, I'll mention three of the biggest ones.
The first one: Climate change
Glaciers are receding, the Arctic ice is melting, islands are going under water or are about to. Heat and cold, excessive rain and drought - effects of extreme weather are seen everywhere. Even here, we are seeing the highest snowfall in 20 years.
We should have shed our divisions and united to tackle the challenge, but we must ask honestly if we have done so. Everyone says climate emissions must be reduced, But how many developed countries reach out to developing nations with the technology required to do so?
Thousands of years ago, our sacred texts read that we humans are the children of Mother Earth. But then why do we see a war between humans and environment?
Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi always endorsed utilisation based on need, and opposed greed. But we have wandered far from that thought and exploited nature. We must ask ourselves, is this development or is this deterioration?
The other big challenge is terrorism. You all are familiar with the impact of terrorism. All I want to draw your attention to, is that just as dangerous as terrorism is, even more so is the false distinction made between good terrorists and bad terrorists. Another very dangerous thing is the trend of educated young people from prosperous families joining terrorism.
The third challenge is increased self-centredness around the world. Globalisation around the world is shrinking. Everyone talks of an inter-connected world but the shine of globalisation is reducing. We must see if the global organisations created after World War II reflects the new dynamics of the world today. Some world powers don't just want shun globalisation but they want to stall it. An example of this are new tariff barriers.
Mahatma Gandhi had said I don't want the walls and windows of my world be closed from all sides. I want the air of the world to come in freely but it shouldn't uproot my home. India follows this philosophy. We Indians understand the value of diversity. We understand the importance of freedom and democracy.
In 2014, India's 600 crore voters, for the first time gave a complete majority to one party, and we have always strived for 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'. And this forms the bedrock of all policies of my government. Be it opening bank accounts for all Indians to ensure financial inclusion, or digital inclusion, or gender justice. Progress is only real when it helps everyone and everyone joins us in the journey.
Our path to progress is reform, perform and transform. This is why investing in India, travelling to India, manufacturing in India has become much easier than before. We have pledged to end license raj, we are removing red tape and laying out the red carpet. New doors for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are being opened. 1400 laws that were hurdles to progress have been scrapped. GST has been implemented, technology is being used to increase transparency. Democracy, demography and dynamism are shaping our destiny today.
In 3.5 years, India has seen massive changes that accept the aspirations of 1.25 billion Indians. Innovation and entrepreneurship is making young Indians job givers, not job seekers. For a shared prosperity, we have to work together, shedding our differences.
The world's economic and security organisations need reforms, and the world's economic progress must be faster. India has always cooperated with the world to tackle challenges. India has been the largest contributor in the UN peacekeeping force in terms of troops. India has always been the first responder to crises in neighbouring and friendly nations. A predictable, stable, transparent and progressive India will continue to be the good news in an uncertain world.
India will always be a unifying and harmonising force. Rabindranath Tagore had written of a heaven of freedom where the world is not divided by narrow walls. Let's make that a reality.
I invite you all to come to India - If you want wellness with wealth, come to India; If you want wholeness with health, come to India; If you want peace with prosperity, come to India. Remember, that you will always be welcome in India.