Recent global events have shown a surge in protectionism, nationalism and nativism. At the core of these movements is rising inequality, both within and among countries. As nations continue to rise, responsive and responsible leadership is needed to ensure inclusive growth, peace and harmony. More than ever, countries are dependent on each other to address common challenges such as crime and terrorism, climate change and migration, among others.
India’s growth has been instrumental in ensuring that South Asia is the fastest-growing region in the world. As the world economy undergoes a slowdown, it is critical that India continues on this trajectory to ensure regional and global growth. At the same time, the country should take a more active role in geostrategic affairs. As the largest democracy and with a pluralistic society, India’s active global engagement has a symbolic significance. For this to be Asia’s century, India’s role is crucial.
From low-cost electrocardiograph machines to a successful, yet frugal, Mars mission, Indian entrepreneurs and businesses have provided innovative and alternative solutions. At the same time, Indian cinema, Yoga and Ayurveda provide strong Indian narratives around the world. India now needs to guide global projects; this has already begun to happen. India’s leadership in the Paris Agreement and International Solar Alliance and its efforts to join permanent members on the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group indicate a quest for a new international identity and a changing perception of its role in international politics.
However, India can be one of the poles of a new world order only when its economic, social and political foundations are truly robust. Key challenges in areas including agriculture, infrastructure, energy and environment, and production systems need to be overcome. This is an important moment for India, when it can ensure that its economic growth is more broad-based and socially inclusive.
The 2017 India Economic Summit, held in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), will explore some of these issues while engaging the global multistakeholder community of the World Economic Forum for action and impact.