Modi woos corporate America to invest in India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Shantanu Narayen, Chairman and CEO of Adobe

Indian PM tells US CEOs India’s growth presents a “win-win” opportunity for both nations

Wooing corporate America, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his US visit telling American business leaders of the unique “win-win” opportunities India could offer them.

Among the CEOs of five leading US companies with whom he held separate one-on-one meetings were Indian-Americans Shantanu Narayen, chairman of software major Adobe, and Vivek Lall, CEO of military drone manufacturer General Atomics.

The others included Cristiano Amon of Qualcomm, a leader in 5G solutions; Mark Widmar, CEO of solar panel maker First Solar; and Stephen Schwarzman of global investment firm Blackstone.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Vivek Lall, Chief Executive of General Atomics Global Corporation

Modi’s meeting with Lall, came amid New Delhi’s plan to boost its defence arsenal. The two spoke about advancing defense manufacturing, use of emerging technologies and augmenting capacity building in India.

“It was an outstanding meeting,” Lall said later. “We spoke about technology & the confidence in the policy reforms that are coming in India and the great potential that India has from an investment perspective.”

Talks with Adobe’s Narayen revolved around the firm’s future investment plans in India. “Ideas to leverage Digital India flagship program in sectors like health, education and R&D were also discussed,” Indian officials said.

Modi’s first interaction was with Qualcomm’s Amon and the discussion was on how 5G technology could be accelerated.

“We talked about an incredible opportunity to advance the industry not only domestically in India but India as an export of technology,” Amon later said.

Read: Modi-Biden summit will strengthen India-US ties: White House (September 21, 2021)

According to Indian officials, the Qualcomm CEO expressed interest in working with India on ambitious digital transformation programs including in 5G, the public WiFi project PM WANI and others. He also expressed interest partnering with India to work in the field of semiconductors.

Modi told Amon India has contributed to 5G standards and urged Qualcomm to actively participate as they did in case of the GPS-like navigation system NAVIK, according to Indian officials.

He also spoke about the new liberalized drone policy and said that Qualcomm could take part in new opportunities in the new emerging market.

India’s solar energy potential was the focus of Modi’s meeting with First Solar’s Widmar. “Discussions took place about First Solar’s interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in India using their unique thin-film technology,” officials said.

Widmar shared plans to use Production Linked Inventive scheme for manufacturing solar power equipment with unique thin-film technology and integrating India into global supply chains.

India is Blackstone’s best market in the world, said the firm’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman. He said Blackstone has already invested $60 billion in assets in India and will pump in another $40 billion over the next five years

“I had a very good meeting with the PM,” he said after the meeting. “I told him that Blackstone had already invested $60 billion in assets in India, and over the next 5 years, we’re planning another $40 billion of assets.”

Schwarzman also presented Modi a copy of his book.

Read: PM Modi to top CEOs: ‘India’s growth presents a win-win partnership with US’ (June 26, 2017)

Modi referred to his government’s attempts to improve the business climate, including the “landmark” single unified tax regime GST to woo American companies to “contribute” India’s growth.

“It was a delight to meet Mr Stephen Schwarzman. His commercial success and intellectual prowess are admirable,” Modi tweeted after the meeting. “We talked about India’s investment potential and why our country is one of the world’s most attractive destinations for investment.”

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