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Modi storms Silicon Valley

The Silicon Valley visit of Prime Minister Modi in September was evocative and brilliant. His address along with the leaders of the IT sector was superb. It contained the specific strengths of India, her needs and the business opportunities offered.

There was also the contrast: Chinese Premier Xi Jinping visited the US about the same time. While the large American software companies rushed to China over the last two decades and built businesses in quick time, these encountered a lot of issues relating to IPR and difficulties of enforcement of legal contracts. There were wide complaints on either side. Large new corporations also succeeded in acquiring big businesses from the US. eg. Lenovo acquiring IBM’s computer hardware business. There are also other corporations that would build huge businesses on the American model (example: Alibaba) and compete with US grants.

The prospect for tapping the large Indian market and the familiarity of the chief executives and senior executives of Silicon Valley companies with India are special advantages.

The Indian diaspora concentrated in the Silicon Valley made the most of Modi’s visit. In a repeat of the Madison Square Garden meet a year ago, the diaspora made the most of the visit of an Indian Prime Minister after 30 years.

Apart from the meeting with the four software luminaries, Modi visited Apple and Tesla Motors. Apple CEO Tim Cook indicated prospects of a manufacturing base in India. At Facebook headquarters, Modi had a town hall meeting with Mark Zuckerberg. In a carefully planned question answer session, Modi responded to questions posed by Zuckerberg and also a few employees of Facebook.

This town hall meeting was a replica of US President’s similar town hall meet in New Delhi last year. Modi chose to respond in Hindi.  He dramatised to the last question by asking Zuckerberg about his mother and turned quite emotional.  One was reminded of superstar Rajnikanth in the Tamil movie Mannan where the song Amma Endru Azhaikadha Uyirillaye became a super hit. Only our Prime Minister didn’t really sing, but was so full of emotion.

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