India-born Microsoft CEO soft pedals ‘sad, bad’ comment about CAA.
Amid ongoing protests against India’s new controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Microsoft’s India born CEO Satya Nadella hopes for an India where an immigrant would one day found a start-up or lead a multinational.
Nadella’s nuanced statement released by Microsoft India came after a tweet Monday by Ben Smith, editor of BuzzfeedNews, suggesting he had expressed disappointment over the CAA kicked up a media storm.
“Every country will and should define its borders, protect national security and set immigration policy accordingly,” wrote Nadella without mentioning CAA at all.
“And in democracies, that is something that the people and their governments will debate and define within those bounds,” he acknowledged.
“I’m shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States,” wrote Nadella who came to the US in 1988 as a student and rose to become Microsoft CEO.
“My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to found a prosperous start-up or lead a multinational corporation benefitting Indian society & the economy at large,” he added citing his success story in America.
Nadella’s clarification came hours after Ben Smith tweeted: “Asked Microsoft CEO @satyanadella about India’s new Citizenship Act.
“I think what is happening is sad… It’s just bad….,” he quoted Nadella as saying. “I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the next CEO of Infosys.”
According to Smith Nadella made these comments at a meeting with editors in Manhattan.
On January 11, the Indian government notified the new citizen law that would fast track Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants who came to India before December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution in Islamic Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The new law offers Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian migrants from the three neighboring countries a path to Indian citizenship after six years stay instead of the usual 12 for others.
Cities across India have witnessed violent protests since CAA was passed by the Indian parliament on Dec 12 with opponents of the law saying it is violative of the secular Indian constitution as it discriminates against Muslims.
The Indian Supreme Court which is set to hear 59 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of CAA on January 22 has declined to stay its implementation.
Historian Ramchandra Guha, who opposes the CAA,welcomed Nadella’s statement with a tweet wishing “that one of our own IT czars had the courage and wisdom to say this first. Or to say it even now.”
But former Infosys board member T V Mohandas Pai, a CAA supporter felt Nadella “is very confused in his statement.Must be the Indian leftist academics in the US who have confused him by misinformation.
“@satyanadella Pl study the CAA before you comment!We respect you as @Microsoft CEO and you must not make comments to malign India!,” he tweeted.