The impending visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly and also to meet US President Barack Obama will be a significant step to set the tone and outcomes of US-India relations.
The importance of this visit lies in the fact that both parties are striving to draw a fresh first sketch on a blank-slate with a new prime minister at the helm in New Delhi. While officials are planning to generate as much value out of Modi’s trip to New York and Washington, DC, it is also time to create newer values in the bilateral relation. This can be possible if the prime minister engages with a wider audience in the US.
The Silicon Valley could be a great place to start this effort. Such a visit will give Modi the opportunity to see and experience for himself first-hand the culture and eco-system of technology, capital, and the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that has made the Valley the engine of America’s growth.
He would be invited to visit the campus or headquarters of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter — and could also sample some of the newest technologies that are being incubated by these giants — ranging from social media, to solar energy, to driver-less cars and wearable computing. Of course, included in the itinerary would be a meeting or town-hall with the technology CEOs, and a private dinner with the owner-CEOs of some of these top corporations.
Moreover, the Silicon Valley is no longer only about information technology, software and social media. The technology giants are moving towards innovation, products and solutions for smart cities and waste management, clean technology and solar energy, and advances in learning through tools like the Massive Open Online Course, among others.
India must take the leadership in inspiring this eco-system of innovation and entrepreneurship towards creating affordable solutions for the needs of the billions across the world.
(Robinder Sachdev is the co-founder of the US India Political Action Committee. The views expressed by the author are personal.)