Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s invite to visit the social media giant’s headquarters for a joint town hall Q&A during a visit to the US later this month.
The September 27 interaction will be held at Menlo Park, California, as Modi would look to strengthen business ties during a two-day visit to Silicon Valley. He will be in the US from September 23 to 29.
“I’m excited to announce that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India will be visiting Facebook HQ later this month for a Townhall Q&A. Prime Minister Modi and I will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges,” the 31-year-old Facebook CEO, one of the world’s youngest billionaires, posted on Sunday.
“I thank Mr Mark Zuckerberg for the invite to visit the Facebook HQ. I look forward to the Townhall Q&A on Sunday 27th September at 10 PM IST (9:30 AM Pacific time),” Modi said on his Facebook wall.
It will be the first time that the PM, who is to address the Indian diaspora separately in San Jose, will take questions from members of the public during a foreign tour.
“The interaction will cover a wide range of issues and will surely be a memorable one. This programme will be incomplete without your participation!” he said, asking people to send questions to the recently-launched Narendra Modi Mobile App.
With a global base of around 1.44 billion users, Facebook has emerged as one of the world’s most influential companies barely 11 years after its launch. India has the largest numbers of Facebook users after the US. In June, the social networking site said 125 million of its users were from India.
The announcement of the second meeting between the two powerful men generated a lot of excitement. The first was in Delhi in October when Zuckerberg famously traded his signature denims and T-shirt for a dark suit and tie to meet the Prime Minister.
At the time of going to press, Zuckerberg’s post had got 5,47,034 likes, 29,842 shares and 22,449 comments. Modi clocked 64,156 likes, 4,470 shares and 1,728 comments.
Questions – covering a range of issues – came in quick and fast. “Is the caste-based reservation system required for equality among people in India,” read one.
Clearly unhappy with the growing culture of ban, a user wanted some answers from the PM, channeling the query through Zuckerberg, “Ask him about the porn ban and meat ban in India. Ask him why he is so conservative in this globalised world.”
The interaction would be streamed live on his Facebook page as well as PM’s official website, said Zuckerberg, who frequently holds such interactions at 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park.
One such event was attended by US President Barack Obama, who also held a town hall at Siri Fort auditorium in Delhi during a visit earlier this year and left quite an impression. On September 27, it will be Modi’s turn.