Modi strengthens tech ties on US visit, despite protests
Indian PM tours Silicon Valley amid public protests over human rights record
Indian premier Narendra Modi brought his two-day visit to the US to a close yesterday in a crowded sports arena in San Jose, California, after a tour of America's technology heartland in Silicon Valley, Reuters reported.
The visit, marred by protests over Modi's human rights record, was designed to cement ties with some of the world's largest technology companies, as the leader seeks to further his "Digital India" plan.
Modi, 65, is the first Indian prime minister to visit the US West Coast in more than 30 years and his visit follows that of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who met with tech executives in Seattle last week.
"[India] has moved on from scriptures to satellites," Modi said. "The world has started to believe that the 21st century belongs to India."
Senior representatives from Facebook, Google and Tesla Motors all received Modi at their headquarters, while Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Modi at his hotel.
Day two of the premier's visit began with a town hall-style meeting at Facebook's HQ with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, where Modi hailed the importance of social media, Digital India and technological expansion in the country. Modi is the second most-followed world leader on Twitter after US President Barack Obama.
Modi also met with Indian-born Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, at the company's HQ. Pichai announced that Google would deploy Wi-Fi services to 500 Indian railway stations.
Modi has enjoyed rampant popularity at home, with an approval rating of 87%, but he faced protests on his visit from activists keen to point out his human rights record. Modi has been accused of neglecting to act forcefully in 2002, while chief minister of Gujarat, when the state was the scene of intense religious riots that killed 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. Modi has consistently denied any wrongdoing.