Modi begins Silicon Valley tour, interacts with Indian diaspora community


Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his tour of Silicon valley with an interaction with the Indian-American community as he arrived here to give a strong push to his drive for technological innovation in India.

Singer Kailash Kher shared the stage with Modi at the community reception hosted by the Indian diaspora at the Imperial Ballroom of Hotel Fairmont here.

A woman tied a rakhi to him during the interaction. Members of the Sikh and Gujarati community also met him.

Earlier on arrival at the Norman Y. Minte San Jose International Airport, Modi was given a red carpet welcome with San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo and his wife receiving him.

An enthusiastic crowd of supporters was on hand to welcome him amid chants of “Modi, Modi” as he alighted from the Air India one aircraft greeting them with a “Namaste”.

Amid tight security and barricading, fans reached out to the prime minister for handshakes and autographs.

Many wearing tricolour scarves and waving paper Indian flags held aloft signs saying “We Support Digital India.” There were also banners saying “USA loves India”.

“Landed in San Jose to a great welcome. Eagerly awaiting the programmes in the coming 2 days,” Modi tweeted.

“Straight to the community. PM attends Diaspora event in San Jose, greets leading Indians/PIOs,” tweeted External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The first Indian leader to visit California in more than three decades, Modi is set to have meetings with Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, Indian-American chief executives of Microsoft and Google respectively.

He will also meet Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and electric carmaker Tesla’s iconic CEO Elon Musk.

After the interaction with the Indian-American community, Modi will visit Tesla’s Fremont plant later 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 Saturday evening.

Several Indian-American tech leaders as also Cisco chairman John Chambers, and Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs among others would be attending.