Image Source: theguardian

As the date for PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US draws closer, there has been a lot of excitement about his itinerary, especially about his rendezvous with global CEOs and Silicon valley czars.

From the time he took office, with his many foreign visits, Modi has made it quite clear that his top priority is to improve India’s global standing and get as much foreign direct investment to India as possible. That apart, he is also working hard towards getting India a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and seems to have put things into motion with the UNSC recently endorsing a reforms document for the first time since the last 20 years.

Modi’s second visit to the US since he became PM is a significant move towards establishing an open dialogue with global CEO’s to boost innovation and investment. The visit also comes at time when many of the top global technology firms are being managed by leaders of Indian-origin.

“This visit seeks to build on the substantial ground covered during my last visit to USA and President Obama’s visit to India early this year,” Modi said in one of his several Facebook posts.

The PM is scheduled to land in New York on 24 September and will be holding a dinner meeting with select top global CEOs which will include Ford Motors, Lockheed Martin, IBM, PepsiCo, Du Pont, Merck &Co, Qualcomm Inc, and Abbott Laboratories, the Economic Times newspaper reported. The idea behind the New York interaction with CEOs is to understand what policy initiatives should the country take up to become the most favoured global destination for investment. With about 50 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies confirming their participation, the meeting is being taken very seriously by corporate America.

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While in New York, the Indian prime minister will also address heads of states at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, which will be attended by over 150 world leaders.

From New York, Modi heads straight to his most anticipated next stop, California. The last time an Indian prime minister visited the West Coast was in 1982 when Indira Gandhi went to Los Angeles. He will host another dinner for CEOs of digital companies in the Silicon Valley when he visits the West Coast on September 26 and 27.

He will also host an event named India-US startup Konnect where Indian startups will present their products to an American gathering. “India is emerging as a hub of startups in a wide range of areas and we aspire to take this further. We want the world to see our innovation capabilities in the startup sector,” Modi said in a Facebook post.

Silicon Valley leaders have showed an outpouring of support to Modi’s visit to the world’s biggest startup hub. “Now, we are finally in a golden era where Indians, irrespective of whether they live in Silicon Valley or Bangalore, are working as one ecosystem generating ideas, jobs and incredible success that provides benefits to both U.S. and India. The Prime Minister’s visit is an acknowledgement of this new reality,” says P.V. Kannan, the Indian-origin CEO and co-founder of Campbell, California-based 247 Inc which has substantial operations in India, according to a report by Forbes.

The last time Modi was in the US, he made headlines when he delivered a much-celebrated speech at a packed Madison Square Garden. But this time around, it’s going to be townhall-style Q and A session with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the social networking giant’s headquarters at Menlo Park in California. In an FB post, Modi said that this is an event ‘you shouldn’t miss’. He will also be visiting the Google and Tesla Motors campuses during his visit.

Modi’s US visit and his close engagement with global business leaders a huge step forward to towards making the government’s ‘Make In India’ initiative a reality. On the other hand, corporate leaders are looking at this visit as an opportunity to influence policy and make India more conducive for new business. If Modi can successfully convince the American CEO club to invest and tap into India’s vast talent pool, the future might see a surge in FDI in several industry sectors. We hope he makes the right moves as the world is keeping a close watch on this high-profile visit.

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