WEF 2016: As China falters, India’s resilience readies for Davos test

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Davos | Updated: January 18, 2016 6:37 PM

With the Chinese headwinds taking a big toll on markets globally, India's 'bright spot' status would be put to the test at the annual pow-wow of the elite of the world beginning tomorrow in this Swiss ski resort town.

Infrastructure, India Infrastructure, Urban India infrastructure, Urban India population, World Economic Forum, World Economic Forum India, Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement ActOn the other hand, Rajan would discuss ‘The Growth Illusion’ with top financial sector leaders in a session — the only one so far on the official WEF (World Economic Forum) agenda for him. (Reuters)

With the Chinese headwinds taking a big toll on markets globally, India’s ‘bright spot’ status would be put to the test at the annual pow-wow of the elite of the world beginning tomorrow in this Swiss ski resort town.

More than 2,500 top leaders, including over 50 heads of state or government and CEOs of about 1,000 top MNCs, would discuss steps for “improving the state of the world” over the next five days during more than 300 sessions at the 46th WEF Annual Meeting in this snow-laden Alpine town.

From India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would be accompanied by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and other senior government functionaries, while India Inc would be represented by more than 100 business leaders, including top CEOs like Mukesh Ambani, Cyrus Mistry, Chanda Kochhar, Anand Mahindra, Azim Premji, Rahul Bajaj and Uday Kotak.

Jaitley would participate in a session on ‘India and the World’ alongside renowned economist Nouriel Roubini (known as Dr Doom) among others, where the theme would be how can India be a global resource for innovation, growth and talent.

The Finance Minister would also discuss ‘Asia¶s Era of Infrastructure’ in another session, while he would also be on the panel at the last official session of the summit on Saturday to discuss ‘The Global Economic Outlook’ along with IMF chief Christine Lagarde and British Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne.

Among Indian business leaders, ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar would discuss ‘Regions in Transformation: South Asia’ along with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, ADB President Takehiko Nakao and Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh.

The global leaders attending the elite annual event would include UK’s David Cameron, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Alexis Tsipras of Greece, Mauricio Macri of Argentina, Joe Biden of the US and Johann Schneider-Ammann from the host Switzerland.

The issues that are expected to dominate the discussions include rout in Chinese markets and the resultant impact on the global economy.

The discussions would also focus on the resilience of Indian economy, which the government and business leaders from the country, as also institutions like IMF and World Bank, have been projecting as the only ‘bright spot’ in an otherwise gloomy world economy.

The theme is ‘Mastering fourth Industrial revolution’ for this year’s annual meeting of the Geneva-based non profit group that has been organising this Summit in Davos for more than four decades every January.

The official agenda has issues like acute challenges of geo-economics, global security, public health, education, gender parity and climate change. The key issues to be discussed also include the “new normal” global growth and falling commodity prices.

The Co-Chairs of the Annual Meeting 2016 are General Motors’ chief Mary Barra, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General-Secretary Sharan Burrow, Microsoft’s India-born CEO Satya Nadella, Hitachi’s Chairman and CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam and Al Bawsala Founder Amira Yahyaoui.

The Summit would begin tomorrow with the 22nd Annual Crystal Awards to celebrate the achievements of leading artists who have shown exemplary commitment to improving the state of the world. This year’s awardees are actress Yao Chen, actor and film producer Leonardo DiCaprio, musician and entrepreneur will.i.am and artist Olafur Eliasson.

This would be followed by a musical performance by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma who would be joined by Sandeep Das from India among other artists in a Silk Road collaboration.

The prominent Indian business leaders participating in the summit also include Adi Godrej, Hari S Bhartia, Shyam Sunder Bhartia, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Naresh Goyal, Sunil Mittal, Rana Kapoor, Anant Gupta, C P Gurnani and N Chandrasekaran.

Besides, Ajit Gulabchand, Sajjan Jindal, Baba Kalyani, Madhu Kannan, Hemant Kanoria, Onkar S Kanwar, Manish Kejriwal, Rajiv Lall, Rajiv Memani, Rajan Mittal, Prashant Modi, Nirav Modi, Pawan Munjal, Ajay Piramal, Anuj Puri, Ravi and Shashi Ruia, Malvinder Mohan Singh, Tulsi Tanti and Ravi Uppal would also be present.

The young business leaders from India would be Karan Adani, Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani, Anant Bajaj, Sanjiv Bajaj, Dheeraj Hinduja, Rishad Premji, Ratul Puri, Huzaifa Khorakiwala, Nihal Kulkarni, Prashant Ruia and Nidhi Tanti.

The global leaders at the event include Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Germany’s President Joachim Gauck, Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto, France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls and South African President Jacob Zuma.

Earlier a delegation from North Korea was scheduled to attend the summit, but the WEF has revoked the invitation in wake of recent nuclear tests allegedly a hydrogen bomb.

Other key government representatives would be Iraq Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi, Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev.

The US team is led by Vice-President Joe Biden and includes Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter, US Trade Representative Michael Froman, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Representatives from international organizations and civil society (NGOs, labour leaders, religious leaders), cultural leaders, academia and the media will also participate.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution discussions would focus on the ongoing transformation of society and economy, driven by advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology and other areas of science.

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