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Modi all set for tryst with Silicon Valley CEOs

By Lalit K Jha and Yoshita Singh
September 26, 2015 13:30 IST
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He will visit the campuses of iconic Tesla, Facebook and Google

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Silicon Valley tonight where he will learn firsthand the success story of iconic companies and their leaders with the objective of building a similar ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in India.

During his two-day stay in Silicon Valley, he would begin and conclude his engagements with the Indian-American community, the last one being addressing a strong crowd of over 18,500 Indian-Americans at the SAP Centre in San Jose.

Moments after he flies in, Modi's motorcade would drive directly to a lunch hosted in his honour by the Indian Ambassador to the US which is being attended by top Indian American community leaders from across the country.

Sandwiched between his two community events would be his visits to the campuses of iconic Tesla, Facebook and Google.

In addition he would hold meetings with who's who of the corporate leadership of the Silicon Valley – ranging from Tim Cook of Apple to Satya Nadela of Microsoft, Sunder Pichai of Google and Shantanu Narayen of Adobe.

The first-ever Indian prime minister to visit the Silicon Valley after it became the hub of global innovation and entrepreneurship, Modi's first engagement after the community dinner tonight would be to drive down to the iconic Tesla.

And this is precisely why the prime minister decided to visit Silicon Valley – to experience and learn firsthand the success story of iconic companies and leaders here with the sole objective of building a similar ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in India, said Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh.

Singh, who was handpicked by Modi to be his top diplomat in US early this year, has made several trips to the Silicon Valley in the five months he has been in this position.

"Visiting California a number of times in the past months, I got a clear sense that the role and participation of Indian origin tech entrepreneurs in that area is extremely significant in terms of mainstream cutting edge technology and effort going on there," he says.

"Today, more than 15 per cent startups in Silicon Valley are attributed to Indian origin tech entrepreneurs. Therefore, this is an additional dimension to the potential for cooperation between India and the US," the Ambassador notes.

Giving a preview of the prime minister's trip to Silicon Valley, Singh said, "What interests us in Tesla is the battery technology" because it has implications in terms of storage for renewable energy. So, that would be an area of interest.

On his return from Tesla, Apple CEO would be waiting for him to have an one-on-one meeting and then Modi is scheduled to have dinner with top CEOs of the IT sector.

Among the prominent speakers at the event, before the prime minister lays out his vision for digital India, would be top American CEOs John Chambers of Cisco, Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai of Google and Shantanu Narayen of Adobe.

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Lalit K Jha and Yoshita Singh in New York
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