Desi cuisine, yoga to open WEF Davos meet; Indian presence to be largest-ever

Desi cuisine and yoga will mark the start of the five-day annual jamboree of the rich and powerful from across the world in the snow-laden Swiss ski resort town of Davos later this month, where India will be in the spotlight with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to be present for the first time.

The Indian presence is set to be the largest-ever with as many as six union ministers, two chief ministers, several top government officials and over 100 CEOs, among others, already figuring among the registered participants.

While there is no official confirmation as yet from the World Economic Forum (WEF) or the government on Modi’s presence, sources familiar with the programme planning said he is expected to address a special plenary at the WEF Annual Meeting 2018, which would be attended by over 3,000 top business and political leaders including 50 government or state heads.

A formal programme for the event, starting January 22, will be announced soon by the Geneva-based WEF for its 48th annual meeting whose theme will be ‘creating a shared future in a fractured world’.

The welcome reception on the inaugural evening will be hosted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India), which will showcase “India’s exquisite cuisine and age-old yoga heritage as well as the spirit of a young, innovative New India”.

While the apex industry body CII will be heading a strong delegation of over 100 industrialists, several government departments, state governments and corporates will run extensive brand promotion activities across this small Alpine resort down during the WEF Annual Meeting, including several outdoor campaigns on facades of buildings and city buses.

The official sessions at WEF will also have special India-focused discussions including one on “India’s role in the world”, how it is rethinking economics with the use of big data in policymaking and the country’s role in securing peace and stability in the Asian century.

The registered participants from India include Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region of India Jitendra Singh.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao are also among the registered government leaders from India, alongside a number of senior government officials including Ramesh Abhishek, Atul Chaturvedi and Amitabh Kant who will participate in a number of panel discussions.

The Indian leaders are also expected to hold a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings on the sidelines.

Those expected to be present at the elite global gathering also include Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with a number of his cabinet colleagues, as well as Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. 

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