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Technology tops Modi agenda on West Coast

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Washington: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Silicon Valley, the US media noted that like Chinese president Xi Jinping, the technology industry will play a central role in his discussions there.

Xi who started his US visit in Seattle with a meeting with tech leaders on Wednesday, the day Modi landed in New York to woo investors, was hosted for a state dinner by President Barack Obama Friday after two days of talks.

Photo credit: travelbeats.indianeagle.com
Photo credit: travelbeats.indianeagle.com

But unlike Xi, Modi’s “whirlwind tour of Silicon Valley, including visits to Tesla, Stanford, Google and Facebook,” according to the New York Times , “is more likely to be a celebration than tense discussions about hacking and security restrictions.”

“A number of tech leaders, including top executives of Microsoft and Google and several influential venture capitalists, are Indian-American,” it noted.

“And Indians are a fast-growing part of Silicon Valley’s engineering and business circles.”

“Modi, a technophile who regularly posts on Facebook and Twitter, is expected to spend much of his time courting Silicon Valley to do business in India even as he calls attention to his country’s influence on the technology industry,” the Times said.

The USA Today said Modi “swinging through Silicon Valley …was looking to raise his country’s profile on the global stage.

“Modi sees technology as vital to bringing more economic growth to India,” it said.

He has “launched an ambitious set of ‘Digital India’ initiatives to create more tech jobs, increase electronics manufacturing, expand internet access to thousands of Indian villages and develop mobile apps to improve government services.”

“Some of those efforts have raised concerns about digital privacy,” USA Today said calling them “a faint echo of the concerns that swirled around” Xi’s visit with US tech leaders this week.

“Modi is capitalising on growing interest and investment by global investors in Indian start-ups,” it said.

“His visit also affords Facebook and Google the opportunity to press him on issues such as India’s unreliable infrastructure, slow Internet speeds, bureaucratic red tape and confusing tax laws, all of which have slowed investment,” USA Today said.

Milpitas Patch reported that a community reception Sunday at the SAP Centre organized by Indo American Community of West Coast will be attended by several elected officials. They include House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representatives Eric Swalwell and John Garamendi.

“This visit really amplifies San Jose’s opportunity to take the city to the next level, to play on an international stage,” Mayor Sam Liccardo was quoted as saying. “We’re proud to be a community in Silicon Valley where over 200,000 Indian-Americans have enriched our community,” he said.

Ash Kalra, the first Indian-American to serve on the City Council, said Silicon Valley should play a role in the prime minister’s vision for a ‘digital India’.

Kalra said, he sees Modi’s visit as the start of a partnership between India and the city of San Jose.

“The key goal of the visit is to bring the innovation mindset, innovation culture that we have here in the valley to India,” entrepreneur and event co-chair Naren Gupta said.

Arun Kumar, IANS

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India’s President ‘Ram Nath Kovind’ Designates ‘Narendra Modi’ as PM for Second Term

The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament

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Newly elected lawmakers from India's ruling alliance led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party raise their hands in support of Narendra Modi's election as their leader in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

India’s president on Saturday appointed Narendra Modi as the prime minister soon after newly elected lawmakers from the ruling alliance, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, elected him as their leader following a thunderous victory in national elections.

President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet that he also asked Modi to forward the names of those to be appointed as ministers in his government and the date for the swearing-in for his second five-year term as prime minister. Modi and some leaders of his alliance met the president on Saturday.

Media reports said Modi was likely to be sworn in by Kovind on Thursday.

BJP president Amit Shah announced Modi’s name as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance in a meeting of the lawmakers in the Central Hall of Parliament in New Delhi.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second right, hugs senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader M.M. Joshi as L.K. Advani, left, watches after Modi’s election as ruling alliance leader, in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, after the official vote count from the six-week-long election was completed on Friday. That is well beyond the simple majority a party in India needs to form a government.

The BJP’s top rival, the Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, won 52 seats, and the All India Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won 22.

Unity movement

Critics say Modi and his party have applied divisive policies and used a Hindu-first strategy. But Modi said after Saturday’s vote that “this election has become a movement of social unity.” “It is generally said that the election divides, creates distances, makes walls. But the 2019 elections have worked to break the walls,” he said in his address.

On Friday, Modi met with his outgoing Cabinet ministers and later presented his resignation to the country’s president. The president asked the officials to continue to serve until the new government assumes office.

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The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament. VOA

Gandhi, whose great-grandfather, grandmother and father were all prime ministers, personally conceded his seat, long a Congress party bastion, to his BJP rival, India’s textiles minister, marking the end of an era for modern India’s most powerful political dynasty.

Counting of the estimated 600 million ballots cast over six weeks of staggered polling — the world’s largest democratic exercise — began early Thursday.

ALSO READ: Here’s How TikTok Made PM Modi Popular Among Young Voters

Hindu-first politics

The victory was largely seen as a referendum on Modi’s Hindu-first politics that some observers say have bred intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities, as well as his muscular stance on neighboring Pakistan, with whom India nearly went to war earlier this year after suicide attacks killed more than 40 Indian security officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Modi effectively used the incident as a major campaign tool after responding to the attack with an airstrike in Pakistan that triggered nationalist sentiments, with the BJP saying Modi is the right person to ensure India’s national security. (VOA)