Our world is undergoing a series of transformational shifts occurring at an exponential speed. These shifts bear promise as well as peril. Galloping progress in science and the advent of cutting-edge technological developments have made our environment more intelligent and interconnected than ever. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has created a unique inflection point for the world and smart innovations have enabled us to attain unprecedented accuracy and speed in information flow.
At the same time, we are facing significant global challenges, recurring as well as new, such as deepening income inequality, persistent jobless growth, escalating violence and conflicts around the world, threats to state stability, eroding public trust in federal governments, heightening geostrategic friction and, of course, environmental sustainability and climate change.
In parallel, however, we are witnessing the emergence of novel national and international political and governance systems with far-reaching impact on regional and global social contracts and interactions. From a unipolar global governance system, we are moving towards a multipolar and multiconceptual social order with precarious friction points. Bending under the weight of its own complexity, our world is fractured and engulfed in tumultuous social and economic transformations. Our future and the very existence of our world rely on our capacity – individual and collective – to evolve, adapt and optimally respond to these changes and global challenges.
Amid this metamorphosis, India presents an image of optimism and promise. Its unique demographic dividend, rising tide of entrepreneurial spirit, breakthrough innovations across sectors, and remarkable pace of bold and structural reforms have boosted the macroeconomic fundamentals and enhanced India’s long-term economic outlook.
Simultaneously, India is expanding its leadership in a wide range of global initiatives. Its leading role in the Paris climate agreement and International Solar Alliance, and efforts to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group demonstrate a quest for a more pivotal role in global geopolitics and a relentless pursuit of a renewed international identity akin to its potential as a major global player.
India’s extraordinary achievements – despite its complex federal governance structure and highly pluralistic and diverse society – corroborate that the country possesses a robust institutional mechanism for deftly counterbalancing pervasive diversity while projecting a single identity, a fact which bears important lessons for the world struggling to find equilibrium and move towards a harmonious multiconceptual existence. This is being made possible through the philosophy of ‘Together with all, Development for all (Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas)
The time is right for India to amplify its global influence and accelerate the development of robust and resilient economic, social and political foundations. For India to reap the benefits of its reforms process, it is imperative that it address some critical challenges at home.
In spite of significant economic and social progress, spatial, income- and gender-based inequalities persist, and access to core public services is disproportionate between rural and urban areas. There are concerns over high levels of air pollution and scope for improved infrastructure. For many of these challenges, the government is already scoping targeted initiatives.
With this in mind, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 will take place on 23-26 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, under the theme “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. It will convene over 3,000 leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society, academia, media and the arts to set an agenda that drives greater multistakeholder collaboration to address the political, economic and societal challenges of our times. At this Annual Meeting, we are delighted to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi - the first Prime Minister from India to attend the meeting in the last two decades
There is no doubt that India is in transition and will soon become a force to be reckoned with. The country will undoubtedly have a great role and influence in shaping our common future by enriching the global policy debate as well as assisting in designing and developing better policies for a prosperous world. International cooperation, born of mutual interest and collective reflection, is the only way that will allow us to adequately tackle our challenges and create a more equitable, prosperous and harmonious global society.
(Klaus Schwab is Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum)
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