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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today arrived here in Silicon Valley with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as he became the first Indian premier to visit the world’s leading tech hub, writes Lalit K. Jha. Siliconeer presents a photo essay of some of the key first day events – his arrival at San Jose International airport, the crowd outside Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Apple CEO Tim Cook meets the Prime Minister, Various dignitaries including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo greeting PM Modi on his arrival at Minneta San Jose International Airport, and PM Modi on a tour of Tesla Motors in Fremont, Calif.
This trip to Silicon Valley by Prime Minister Modi is a first by an Indian Prime Minister in more than three decades.
At the hotel lobby, the Prime Minister was warmly welcomed by Indian Americans raising pro-Modi slogans.
“With Prime Minister Narendra Modi in office, we have the opportunity to reinvigorate U.S.-India relations and bring our partnership to new heights,” Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a welcome statement as soon as Modi landed at San Jose Airport.
Royce and several other lawmakers would be attending Modi’s address to the Indian community tomorrow night.
“Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley will undoubtedly bring the U.S. and Indian tech sectors closer together, helping to deepen our strong and growing economic ties,” Royce said.
During his two-day stay in Silicon Valley, he would begin and conclude his engagements with the Indian-American community, the last one being an address to a crowd of over 18,500 Indian-Americans at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
Sandwiched between the two community events would be Modi’s visits to the campuses of Tesla Motors, Facebook and Google where he would hold meetings with the who’s who of Silicon Valley ranging from Apple CEO Tim Cook, to Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai of Google, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
The first-ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Silicon Valley after it became a global hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, Modi’s first engagement after the community lunch would be to drive down to the Tesla campus.
“Namaste California! PM @narendramodi arrives in San Jose, for a tech-startup-energy-diaspora-oriented weekend,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
“A warm Californian welcome. Members of the Indian diaspora greet PM @narendramodi at San Jose airport,” he said.
Modi would also meet members of the Sikh and Gujarati communities. Tomorrow morning, Modi will visit the headquarters of social network giant Facebook, where he will hold a town-hall meeting with Zuckerberg.
He will then head to Google, part of his strong push to drive technological innovation in India.
Modi will also have bilateral meetings with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, California Governor Edmund Brown. He will also meet Salman Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a free online education platform that produces thousands of video lessons on diverse subjects for students.
He will also attend a roundtable on renewable energy and an India-U.S. start-up meet.
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 U.S. Arun K. Singh.
“Of course, Prime Minister Modi’s visit is about more than deepening our commercial relations. It’s about building ties between the people of our two countries. There is no better bridge between our two countries than the Indian American community, and I applaud the Prime Minister for his outreach to this thriving community,” Royce said.
Ravi Kiran, co-founder, VentureNursery, India’s first angel-backed start-up incubator, said Modi’s visit must transcend symbolism and he should envision 30-40 Silicon Valleys in India.
“I hope PM Modi picks up deeper reasons why the Silicon Valley is the Silicon Valley and what role regulation plays in creating a genuine culture of innovation and risk-taking,” said Kiran.
“I sincerely wish the visit inspires PM Modi to create a vision of building 30-40 Silicon Valleys in India through genuine transformative change of culture,” said Kiran adding that attributing ‘Silicon Valley of India’ sobriquet to Bangalore is cheap, lazy and short sighted.
PICS OF NARENDRA MODI IN SILICON VALLEY.(SATURDAY, SEPT 26):