Updated: September 27, 2015 3:08:12 pm
“California is one of the last places in the world to see the sun set. But, it is here that new ideas see the first light of the day,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said to a thunderous applause, at a gathering of CEOs from Silicon Valley on Saturday night.
The Prime Minister said the India-US partnership was one of the defining partnerships of the time, one that converges in California.
Watch: Modi talks about Digital India vision
Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, John Chambers of Cisco and Shantanu Narayan of Adobe flanked the Prime Minister on the stage. The ballroom at Fairmont Hotel was choc-a-bloc with top executives of Silicon valley companies. The event started with a presentation on Digital India.
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8.40 am IST: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was awarded a standing ovation as he began his address, doused with humour and drawing on the characters of social media that draws its lifeblood in Silicon Valley. The PM touched on everything from green energy to the Internet of Things.
“The pace at which people are taking to digital technology defies our stereotypes of age, education, language and income. In this digital age, we have an opportunity to transform lives of people in ways that was hard to imagine just a couple of decades ago,” Modi said.
“Digital India is an enterprise for the transformation of India in a scale model unmatched in human history. Nothing else will do in a country with 800 million impatient youths waiting for change,” the PM added.
I now speak of M-Governance. That is the way to go in a country with one billion cell phones, growing at high double digit rates: PM
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 27, 2015
Modi said the vision was to connect all schools and colleges with broadband. He announced a plan to expand WiFi coverage across 500 railway stations across India in collaboration with Google.
“In this digital age, we have an opportunity to transform lives of people in ways that was hard to imagine just a couple of decades ago. I see technology as a means to empower and as a tool that bridges the distance between hope and opportunity,” he said.
08.30 am: Sundar Pichai of Google said Modi has driven India’s effort to become the next hotbed of innovation. “It is not just about being online, but what you do online,” he saidm citing the case of Nisha Madhulika who creates YouTube videos of vegetarian recipes.
“India is the fastest growing startup economy in the world. They are not just Indian success stories, but global success stories,” he added.
Sundar Pichai announces typing in 10 Indian languages from next month, including Gujarati. Railways on Google maps likely tomorrow.
— Nandagopal Rajan (@nandu79) September 27, 2015
08: 25 am: Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs said the affordable smartphone revolution could end up at 250 million units being sold in 2020 and that would be an opportunity for all companies.
“What is interesting is that over 60 per cent of Internet in India is now on mobile,” he said, adding that the country was poised to be a leader in technology. He announced $150 million fund to foster Indian startups and a Design In India initiative to create a local ecosystem for product design.
08.15 am: Shantanu Narayan said India’s embrace of technology has changed it’s destiny and is competing in the world with its greatest asset – it’s people. John Chambers of Cisco said Modi’s vision of a Digital India will succeed as he had the courage and conviction to bring in change. Satya Nadella, who followed him, said Microsoft is all set to announce the availability of cloud services operating out of India. “Now is the time for all of us to come together to empower people around the world,” he said wrapping up his speech.
Microsoft CEO @satyanadella says they are all set to announce availability of cloud services operated out of India from next week.
— Nandagopal Rajan (@nandu79) September 27, 2015
Earlier in the day, Modi visited the Tesla plant where he was shown around by CEO and Founder Elon Musk. Modi later posed for photographs with Indian staffers at the plant.
The Prime Minister met Apple CEO Tim Cook, after he kicked off his Silicon Valley tour meeting Elon Musk as he visited Tesla Motors. “We have a unique tie with India. Our founder Steve Jobs went to India for inspiration,” said Cook.
The trip to Silicon Valley forms part of Modi’s visit to the US’ west coast – the first by an Indian prime minister in more than three decades.
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