Modi’s Ireland and US Visit – A Brief Review
The recent visit by Narendra Modi to Ireland and the US was an important one on several counts. It started with a bilateral meeting on 23rd September with the Taoiseach (Prime Minister in Irish) of Ireland – Enda Kenny. Following the talks, Modi left for New York. He reached New York the next day and attended the UN Sustainable Development Summit. The importance of the summit can be gauged from the fact that it was attended by 150 leaders from across the world. He also got a chance to address the gathering. The Indian Prime Minister also hosted a meeting of G4 leaders with the other countries such as Japan, Germany and Brazil.
Modi at New York
All these countries are supposed to propose India’s entry into the Security Council on a permanent basis and they will back each other’s claims as well. Barrack Obama also called a peacekeeping summit at New York that was attended by member-nations of the UN. As Modi had posted on his Facebook page, till date India has been one of the major contributors to the UN peacekeeping forces. Till date, 180,000 soldiers from India have been part of the UN peacekeeping missions. Before Modi left for his next destination from New York, he also hosted a dinner where some of the top financial experts and investors of the world were invited. The event was also attended by the CEOs of companies active around the world and corporations that are listed on the Fortune 500 list. The main aim behind that was to talk about the investment opportunities available in India.
West Coast Developments
This can be termed as the most important part of Modi’s trip or one that has received the maximum media attention. Here he attended an event named India-US Start-up Konnect that was organized by the Union Ministry of External Affairs. This event was used by several startups based in India to show their innovations and enter partnerships with the startups in the US, which enjoy rude health of sorts.
On 27th September, Modi paid a visit to the Facebook head offices at Menlo Park in California. He also attended a question and answer session with Mark Zuckerberg at Townhall. Here they discussed several issues related to India as well as ones with global import. Most of these issues were social and economic in nature. He also addressed the Indian diaspora at San Jose. Many people of Indian origin actually looked forward to this interaction and the scenes over there reminded one what had happened at New York when Modi was greeted at the Madison Square Garden by immigrant Indians.
Silicon Valley Visit
An important part of Modi’s visit was the time he spent in Silicon Valley, where he met Mark Zuckerberg. In recent times, Modi has been able to involve Zuckerberg in the project of making India a technologically-advanced country and from the looks of it, it seems like the Facebook supremo is keen to be a part of the ride as well. This was the first visit by Modi to Silicon Valley, which is strange considering the huge number of Indians living over there.
As would be apparent, the meeting was beneficial for both Modi and Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is rather eager to make sure that a greater number of people use the social networking website and it has a greater level of influence around the world. However, during the exchange between them, Modi expressed the hope that Zuckerberg was not just doing this to increase his organization’s bank balance. This visit also gave Modi the opportunity to place more pressure on the tech giants active over there. Modi wants India to stop being a hub of low-grade technological tasks.
At present, there are plenty of call centres and software professionals working for low salary in India. The Prime Minister of India wants his governorate to become a location that is good enough to initiate tech businesses. He also wishes to stop the brain drain – the tradition of capable minds looking at destinations like California to start a business.
Importance of the Visit
As has been said already, the visit is important in several counts. From a diplomatic point of view, the tour of Ireland is rather important considering it is a hitherto unexplored area and could promise much in the days going ahead especially from the point of tourism. In the US, Modi will be able to further India’s push for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. If successful, this will only increase India’s prestige – and one believes power as well – in the global circles.
As always, promotion of India as an investment venue worth the name has featured on this tour as well. The dinner at New York can be seen as a major attempt in that regard considering it featured the who’s who of the business world and not just from the US but across the world. However, what is noteworthy here is Modi’s efforts in getting a company of the stature of Facebook involved in the process of digitizing India.
It is expected that this will get the other big names in the tech world of the US – Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.,- interested in the process as well and perhaps that will be great for the country in the long term. What also needs to be remembered in this instance is that this visit has allowed some Indian startups the opportunity to show the world their ware and get into partnerships with their counterparts in the US. At a time when the major US companies are pulling out of India, this can be a significant development for one and all in terms of job creation and economic development of the service sector.