India PM: Climate change, terrorism, protectionism top global threats

By Susan McFarland  |  Jan. 23, 2018 at 9:51 AM
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Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the World Economic Forum in Switzerland Tuesday with a speech that identified climate change, terrorism and protectionism as three top challenges facing human civilization.

Modi is the first Indian prime minister in two decades to join the world's top business leaders at the forum in Davos.

"The world is facing challenges in maintaining peace, stability and security," Modi said during his opening remarks, which were in line with this year's theme, "Creating A Shared Future In A Fractured World."

"This Summit seems to find solutions to the various problems the world faces," Modi added. "New powers are changing the balance between economic and political strength. This is indicating a change in future of the world."

Expressing concern over the melting of Arctic glaciers, Modi emphasized the need for solutions to mitigate climate change.

The prime minister also spoke of the evils of terrorism, saying how painful it is to see the radicalization of young people.

He also shared his belief that protectionism -- restraining trade via tariffs and other regulations -- has taken over globalization, which affects cross-border commerce.

Modi said India is open for business and welcomes everyone, and emphasized the pride the country takes in democracy and diversity.

"We in India are proud of our democracy and diversity. For a society with diverse religions, cultures, languages, attires and cuisines, democracy is not just a political system but a way of living," Modi said.

President Donald Trump is expected attend the Davos summit at the end of the week. He and Modi are said to have a warm relationship, as the India prime minister has visited the White House multiple times. Recent developments, though, could cause some tension -- Trump's "shithole" comments about Haiti and African nations that send migrants to the United States, and a new report that said the U.S. president often attempts to speak in an Indian accent when repeating remarks from Modi.

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