Whether you are a Modi supporter or not, let’s face it, when Mr Narendra Modi addressed Silicon Valley at the SAP Centre in San Jose, he had us all glued to the screen. As he took forward his vision of ‘Digital India’, the who’s who of the technology world were captivated by his charisma, there are many who could not help a drop or two of tear as he spoke about his difficult childhood and his mother’s struggles to Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Headquarters.
For a change the technology hub of the world was gripped by something that was not a cool and sleek device or a smart application with a promise to change the world. But of course of change it was surely about. He spoke about his plans to make India the hub of innovation fuelled by technological advancement. His vision speaks about India that will use high speed internet to empower entrepreneurs and use technology as a means to upgrade living standards of billions of Indians. Needless to mention he commanded the attention of many eager Silicon Valley biggies wanting to invest in India.
Of course that does not mean that Modi has not faced criticism or there are no na-sayers! For many this has been termed as a perfectly stages PR exercise. Modi himself is quite conscious about the major issues hindering good governance in his country. Hardselling brand India, he emphasised the distinct drop in corruption, the growing popularity of mobile governance, popularity of initiatives like AAdhar linkages, bank accounts for the poor and the beti bachao andolan.
In short, if any Indian leader decided to visit California after 33 years, there couldn’t have been a better choice than Modi. But was this visit only about making inroads into investor’s heart? Well decidedly there was more to it. Perhaps the core objective and purpose of his visit is best summed up in an one-liner spoken at the SAP Centre, “21st Century will belong to India.” In his words India’s growth is intrinsically linked with the alliances it forges with the global community, “This atmosphere of faith will take India to new heights.”
For most of us watching his address to Silicon Valley at the SAP Centre, it is now a wait and watch game and some ground level assessment.