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What's on the agenda for PM Narendra Modi on his seven-day US-Ireland tour

PM Modi is travelling to the West Coast, Silicon Valley, where he will attend a town hall at Facebook's headquarters along with the company's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

twitter-logoAnilesh S Mahajan | September 24, 2015 | Updated 15:44 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Source: Reuters)

Anilesh Mahajan, Associate Editor, Business Today
This will be the second visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US since he took charge in May 2014. On his first visit, he stole the show, and grabbed the attention of the international media.

This time, the effort is to make the visit grander. PM Modi is travelling to the West Coast, Silicon Valley, where he will attend a town hall at Facebook's headquarters along with the company's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Modi calls this an event "you shouldn't miss". He will also be visiting Google's campus and Tesla Motors.

Moreover, India is planning to use this opportunity to lobby for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. PM Modi will host G-4 leaders - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - in New York largely to discuss United Nations Security Council reforms, and discuss a collaborative strategy to negotiate. On September 14, the UN General Assembly had adopted a resolution to reform the Security Council. The US, Russia and China are opposed to India's inclusion in the expanded Council. The stand of other permanent members - UK and France - is 'friendlier' on this issue. India, along with other developing countries, is pushing for a larger role and Modi is planning to use the G4 forum to develop a pressure group.

As per his multilateral itinerary in New York City, Modi will address the UN Sustainable Development Summit to formally adopt the post-2015 new agenda. Later, he will participate in the peacekeeping summit hosted by the US President Barack Obama.

The PM starts this tour on the eve of his government finalising a $2.5-billion helicopter deal with the US-based Boeing. On September 22, India's cabinet committee on security cleared the agreement to purchase 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers. Along with this, India will have option of buying additional 11 Apache fighter choppers and four more Chinooks.

There will be a repeat of a Madison Square like event on west coast, where he will be addressing the Indian community. For this, his lieutenants from party Vijay Chauthaiwale, Ram Madhav are already there to mobilise people.

Modi would be first Indian prime minister to visit Silicon Valley, the hub of innovation and IT where the contribution of Indians is well recognised.

In the Valley, Modi is scheduled to participate in the first India-US Startup Konnect - organised by Indian IT industry body Nasscom, TiE Silicon Valley, and IIM Ahmedabad's CIIE India. This will showcase the strengths of India's start-up ecosystem. Here more than 30 start-ups from various sectors such as financial inclusion, agriculture, energy, biotechnology, and healthcare, will showcase their innovations and the robustness of their models of businesses.

En route to the US, Modi stopped at Ireland's capital Dublin to meet Prime Minister Enda Kenny. On his visit to Ireland on Wednesday - the first by an Indian leader in almost 60 years - Modi spoke of "strong bonds of affinity" between the two counties and said he wanted to strengthen economic ties.

Meanwhile, his ministerial colleagues and several key bureaucrats are already there in the US, meeting key stakeholders in the US establishment and business houses on the eastern side of the country, in Washington DC and New York, and setting the agenda for Modi. India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the UNGA, and she is already there along with her two ministerial colleagues, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal and senior bureaucrats from various ministries and departments.

India is seeking investments in renewable energy, and the newly created National Infrastructure Investment Fund. Apart from this, they were also pushing the 'Make in India' campaign.

Meanwhile, later in his tour, Modi will hold interactions with leading investors and financial sector firms. This will include a working dinner where representatives of major Fortune 500 companies will be present to deliberate on investment opportunities in India.

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