$1-trillion scope for digital economy: PM Modi

India’s digital economy and the infrastructure sector has a total potential for $2.5 trillion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday. Addressing the meeting of the BRICS Business Forum, Mr. Modi said the digital transformation unfolding in India has never before been seen on the world stage.

“There are more than 100 unicorns in over 70,000 start-ups in India, and their number continues to grow. There are investment opportunities of $1.5 trillion under our National Infrastructure Pipeline. The value of the Indian digital economy will reach $1 trillion by 2025,” said Mr. Modi who will address the BRICS summit virtually along with other heads of governments of member countries on Thursday.

“Transformative changes are taking place in every sector in the emerging New India,” said Mr. Modi presenting opportunities emerging in areas like space, blue economy, green hydrogen, clean energy, drones and geo-spatial data.

The BRICS summit of this year is being held in the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis which found reflection in the remarks by China’s President Xi Jinping, who hosted the forum as China is the BRICS Chair this year. Mr. Xi appeared to implicitly criticise NATO and the West over the Ukraine crisis.

“The tragedies of the past tell us that hegemony, group politics and bloc confrontation bring no peace or security; they only lead to wars and conflicts,” he said. “The Ukraine crisis is another wake-up call for all in the world. It reminds us that blind faith in the so-called ‘position of strength’ and attempts to expand military alliances and seek one’s own security at the expense of others will only land oneself in a security dilemma.”

He also hit out at western sanctions, saying that “it has been proved time and again that sanctions are a boomerang and a double-edged sword”. “To politicise the global economy and turn it into one’s tool or weapon, and wilfully impose sanctions by using one’s primary position in the international financial and monetary systems will only end up hurting one’s own interests as well as those of others, and inflict suffering on everyone,” he said.

On June 23, Mr. Xi will host the BRICS leaders summit, which will be followed by a high-level dialogue on global development on Friday. The summit and dialogue are expected to include leaders from several emerging nations besides the five BRICS countries, with both China and Russia pushing efforts to expand the grouping’s membership and influence as a counter to the West.

Addressing the forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the BRICS grouping is considering the introduction of an international reserve currency based on the currencies of the BRICS states. He also said that Moscow will implement the national MIR payment system in more countries to build a sustainable mechanism that will remain unaffected by western sanctions.

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