As Prime Minister Narendra Modi sets out to win over America again with an outreach to the Indian-American community, three themes would animate his journey-entrepreneurship and innovation, digital economy and renewable energy. According to reports, landing in New York on Sep 23 evening, Modi will have an interaction with potential investors, a discussion with media and communication majors and a dinner with CEOs of 40-plus companies focusing on infrastructure and manufacturing in aid of his “Make in India” initiative, next day.
Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit the Bay Area since Morarji Desai picked up an award at University of California, Berkeley in 1978 and Indira Gandhi visited Los Angeles in 1982.
Among the leaders of Fortune 500 companies expected at the dinner meeting with Modi at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel are Lockheed Martin chairman Marillyn A Hewson, Ford Motor president Mark Fields, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Johnson & Johnson chairman Jorge Mesquita. Modi will then head to the Silicon Saturday after addressing the UN global summit Friday.
The first Indian Prime Minister to visit California in more than three decades, Modi is set to have meetings among others with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerbergand electric carmaker Tesla’s iconic CEO Elon Musk. Besides a town hall style question-answer session at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters, Modi will also be meeting Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai and Shantanu Narayen, India-born CEOs of Microsoft, Google, and Adobe respectively. His first stop in California will be at Tesla’s Fremont plant on Saturday. Here more than the zero emissions cars that it makes, Modi would be interested in its “Powerwall”, a home battery charged by solar panels, for India’s clean energy initiative.
With many an Indian at the forefront of innovation in the Silicon Valley, Modi will be looking at how to maximise opportunities at a digital economy dinner that evening attended by several Indian-American tech leaders as also Cisco Chairman John Chambers, and QualcommChairman Paul Jacobs among others.
Next day after discussing “how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges” at the Facebook townhall, Modi, who has more Facebook fans than any politician except Barack Obama, will head to the Googleplex in Mountain View, Santa Clara. Besides Pichai, Modi will also be meeting Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s new holding company Alphabet Inc, there.
At Googleplex, Modi will also witness the start of a 15 hour hackathon or a marathon software coding session with some 150 Indian programmers looking to produce software and applications relevant to India for Modi’s Digital India and Skill India missions. Hosted by the Indian IT industry trade body, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), along with a clutch of start-ups in India and the U.S., the hackathon will have a simultaneous session at Tech Mahindra’s Noida facility.
Later that day he would participate in a roundtable on renewable energy hosted by Precourt Institute for Energy of Stanford University in cooperation with the U.S. Commerce Department.
Modi, who last year got a rockstar like reception when he gave a speech at New York’s Madison Square Garden, would be hoping to recreate that magic at a community reception in San Jose on the evening of September 27.
More than 45,000 people have registered for free passes for the event at the 19,000-seat SAP Centre organised by an Indian American group. Back in New York on September 28 after his two-day visit to the Silicon Valley, Modi will have his third summit with Obama within a year in the backdrop of the first India-U.S. strategic and commercial dialogue in Washington on September 21 and 22.