How 5 of the Most Powerful IT CEOs in the World Are Going to Help #DigitalIndia

In Silicon Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met many influential technology leaders, each of whom had something to say about, and add to, the Digital India campaign. Here are some highlights showing how this US visit will potentially contribute to technology in India, in the long run.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States has reached its conclusion. One of the major highlights of five action packed days which were marked by major discussions on important issues ranging from climate change to peacekeeping, was the Digital India event held in San Jose, California.

PM’s visit to the tech-capital of the world led to a lot of discussion around the Digital India campaign. From Tim Cook to Sundar Pichai, Modi met some really amazing people representing top global giants from the information technology sector. And each one of them had something to say about the campaign and add to it in their own ways.

This is what some of the technology leaders had to say, and how a few of them have committed to taking the dream of a digital India forward.

1. Satya Nadella – CEO, Microsoft

In his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed his intentions to become a partner in the Digital India campaign, saying that Microsoft plans to partner with the Indian government to bring in low-cost broadband connectivity to about 5 lakh villages across the country.

“We believe that low-cost broadband connectivity coupled with the scale of cloud computing intelligence that can be harnessed from data can help drive creativity, efficiency and productivity across governments and businesses of all sizes,” he said.

In his speech, Nadella also shared a very touching personal anecdote from his early childhood in India. Watch here.

2. Sundar Pichai – CEO, Google

Sundar Pichai, whose welcome video for Modi already showed his excitement about meeting the Prime Minister, hosted him at Google. And a very important announcement came out of their meeting – that of Google helping India set up free WiFi at 500 railways stations across the country.

Google also released a map of the first 100 stations where they plan to set up free WiFi, along with a personal note by the CEO. Read it here.


This is Pichai’s speech at the Digital India Dinner, where he reminisces how during his growing years in India, his family got a rotary phone after a long wait, and it was a big event in their neighbourhood. He then compares that with the fast growing use of technology in India now:

3. Tim Cook – CEO, Apple

In a one-on-one interaction between the Apple CEO and the PM, discussions on a wide range of topics took place, from manufacturing of Apple products in India, to the scope of Apple Pay in initiatives like the Jan Dhan Yojana to ensure banking services for all.

“My meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was terrific. We have a unique tie with India. Our founder Steve Jobs went to India for inspiration,” Tim Cook was quoted saying after the meeting.


4. Elon Musk – CEO, Tesla Motors

Modi paid a visit to Tesla Motors’ headquarters at Palo Alto, and met the CEO Elon Musk. They discussed possibilities of bringing innovations and learnings from technologies like Tesla’s Powerwall to India. The Prime Minister showed keen interest in the technology with the view of advancing the renewable energy sector in rural India.

Powerwall is a large home battery that makes storing electricity easier and very convenient. It charges itself using electricity generated from solar panels. Musk also gave a presentation on the revolutionary technologies being developed by Tesla.

5. Paul Jacobs – Executive Chairman, Qualcomm

“We are extremely excited and motivated by the Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative,” said Qualcomm’s Jacobs, who announced a $150-million fund from Qualcomm to suport start-ups in India.

“We are committed to provide local innovative start-ups with the support needed to help India’s IOE (Internet of Everything) ecosystem grow, increasing consumer choice and availability,” Jacobs said

Narendra Modi concluded his visit with these words, while also thanking American people for their hospitality.

We thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the cause of Digital India to the world and getting widespread support for it. Now we look forward to the Indian government following up on these promises and ensure they are delivered. Let’s hope that this visit will help India in utilising all these opportunities and in moving towards a more technologically connected country.

Watch the complete video of the event which witnessed the gathering of CEOs in Silicon Valley:

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