Modi to Visit Tesla, Google on Silicon Valley Visit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the campuses of electric car manufacturer Tesla and search engine giant Google when he visits the Silicon Valley here Sept. 26 and 27.

Various media have reported that Modi is also scheduled to visit SanDisk, Adobe Systems, Facebook and Twitter. But Venkatesan Ashok, India’s Consul General in San Francisco, toldIndia-West that only the Google and Tesla visits are confirmed thus far. “We are exploring other options as well,” he said.

At Tesla, Modi is scheduled to meet Indian American Deepak Ahuja, who has served as the company’s chief financial officer since 2008. Jai Vijayan, Tesla’s CIO, is also scheduled to participate in the meeting. At Google, Modi is tentatively scheduled to meet with Sundar Pichai, the company’s recently-appointed CEO.

Modi will also be meeting with Adobe Systems president and CEO Shantanu Narayen, Madeline Burr, a spokeswoman for the company, told the media. Two events have been scheduled for Sept. 26, at the San Jose, Calif., Fairmont Hotel. That afternoon, Modi will address a group of community leaders at a luncheon hosted by the Consulate.

That evening, the prime minister will attend a “Digital India, Digital Economy” presentation at the Fairmont, also hosted by the Consulate. Indian American business leaders, as well as the non-Indian business community, are expected to attend the evening event, said Ashok.

More than 45,000 people have registered to see the prime minister give a speech at the SAP Center in San Jose. Tickets – which are free – were distributed through more than 500 community organizations partnering in the event. Registration ended Aug. 24.

The SAP Center seats a maximum of about 18,000 people. The mega-event is being organized by the newly-formed Indo American Community of the West Coast. IACWC volunteer Khanderao Kand, who is co-chairing the event with Silicon Valley venture capitalist Naren Gupta, told India-West that tickets will be distributed on a random lottery draw, with first priority going to those who registered through participating organizations.

Plans are currently underway to facilitate the additional 22,000 people who will not get SAP Center seating, said Kand. A live feed of the prime minister’s speech will be broadcast at a nearby location.

The IACWC had initially considered AT&T Park in San Francisco from which to broadcast the live feed. The outdoor ballpark seats more than 41,000 people. But Kand said that venue was ruled out because of noise from nearby San Francisco International Airport and the possibility of rain.

The committee is now considering the Arena Green Park, nearby the SAP Center. Kand said details will be finalized within the next two weeks. Each registrant for the event is undergoing a background security check and will also have to undergo a security check at the event site, said Kand.

No public funds are being used for the event, reported The Times of India, noting that the IACWC turned down a $50,000 donation from the State Bank of India. The newspaper also reported that several Silicon Valley companies have donated $50,000 apiece towards an $800,000 fund that is being used to host the SAP Center event. Organizers have warned attendees not to pay for tickets, as the event is free, both at the SAP Center and at the live feed site.

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