Protectionism is as dangerous as terrorism and climate change in a world moving away from open market and becoming more inward-looking, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while opening the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
Globalisation is losing its lustre but new trade walls are not the answer. The solution to this situation is not isolationism but understanding and accepting change and formulating flexible policies for these changing times, he said.
Forces of protectionism like new tariffs, stalled multilateral trade deals and fall in cross-border investments are acting against globalisation, he said.
As Modi spoke, China and South Korea vowed to protect their interests after the US imposed new tariffs up to 50% on imported washing machines and solar panels on Tuesday.
The move is part of US President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ trade policy to protect local manufacturers from foreign competition.
Turning to environment, Modi said the greatest threat to the survival of civilization is climate change. “If all are children of the Earth, why is there today a war of sorts between us and the Earth,” he asked.
While everyone is talking about reducing carbon emissions, few governments are willing to share climate-friendly technologies with developing countries, he said.
Terrorism is the third main threat the world is facing today. Many affluent and well-educated youth are becoming radicalised, he said, adding that there are no “bad terrorists” and “good terrorists”.
While Modi opened this year’s forum, Trump will make the final keynote speech on Friday.