Indian prime minister arrives in Silicon Valley
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his visit to Silicon Valley on Saturday by introducing several Indian start-ups to an American audience and touring the campuses of Tesla Motors.

Modi’s weekend stay is the first time an Indian prime minister has been on the West Coast since Indira Gandhi traveled to Los Angeles in 1982. The trip also comes a few days after Chinese President Xi Jinping greeted technology industry royalty in Seattle earlier this week. Both visits showcase the desire by U.S. tech companies to bolster business with some of the largest markets in Asia.

"The bond between India and Silicon Valley is strong,” Sundar Pichai, the new CEO of Google and one of the most high-ranking Indians in the tech world, said in a video message Thursday welcoming the Indian head of state. "There is tremendous excitement for your visit amongst all Googlers.”

Modi was greeted by throngs of admirers and local officials when he arrived in San Jose before he toured luxury electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors alongside CEO Elon Musk, who is also chief executive of space exploration company SpaceX.

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

After meeting with Musk, Modi also dined with members of the large Indian diaspora living in the San Francisco Bay area, many of whom work in the tech industry.

While Chinese governmental policies such as lax intellectual property regulations and censorship has stalled relationships with tech companies like Facebook, India has openly courted Silicon Valley’s business. The Internet and Mobile Association of India estimates the country will have more than 500 million total internet users by 2017 and 236 million mobile internet users by next year. In comparison, the entire U.S. population is roughly 317 million.

Modi is scheduled to host a town hall-style meeting at Facebook on Sunday as well as a tour of the Google campus.

Last Modified: 2015-09-28 10:55:41
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