New Delhi: Hours after landing in Washington in the early hours of Thursday (IST), Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of individual meetings with the CEOs of top global companies to push for investment in India, including one with Vivek Lall, chief executive of US energy and defence firm General Atomics Global Corp, which manufactures armed drones. The meeting is seen as significant, given India’s reported interest in a proposed $3 billion (Rs 22,000-crore) deal to acquire 30 Predator drones, manufactured by the company, that can attack long-range targets. Media reports said Mr Lall had suggested to Mr Modi that India could set up a dedicated drone hub. On the meeting, New Delhi said Mr Modi and Mr Lall “spoke about strengthening the defence technology sector in India”. Mr Lall appreciated the recent policy changes to accelerate defence and emerging technology manufacturing and boost capacity building in India, the MEA said.
The PM first met Cristiano Amon, CEO of American technology company Qualcomm. In a statement, New Delhi said “during the meeting, they discussed investment opportunities offered in India’s telecom and electronics sector (which) included the recently launched Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) as well as developments in the semiconductor supply chain in India”. Strategies for building the local innovation ecosystem in India were also discussed, the MEA said.
In his second meeting, Mr Modi met the president and CEO of American software giant Adobe, Mr Shantanu Narayen. In a statement, New Delhi said “they discussed Adobe’s ongoing collaboration and future investment plans in India” and that “discussions also focused on India’s flagship programme Digital India, and the use of emerging technologies in sectors like health, education and R&D”.
The third meeting on Mr Modi’s schedule was with Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, an American company building solar panels. Mr Modi spoke of “India’s renewable energy landscape, particularly solar energy potential, and our target of 450 GW electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030”. Discussions at the meeting “also took place about First Solar’s interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in India using their unique thin-film technology by availing the recently launched Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme, as well integrating India into global supply chains”.
After the next meeting with Mr Lall, Mr Modi’s fifth individual meeting was with the chairman, CEO and co-founder of American investment company Blackstone, Mr Stephen Schwarzman. The MEA said: “Mr Schwarzman briefed the Prime Minister about Blackstone’s ongoing projects in India, and their interest in further investments in the infrastructure and real estate sectors”. Promising investment opportunities in India, including those under National Infrastructure Pipeline and National Monetisation Pipeline, were also discussed, the MEA further said.
Mr Modi, who is on an official visit to the US, was received on his arrival by deputy secretary of state for management and resources T.H. Brian McKeon. “Exuberant members of the Indian diaspora were also present at Joint Base Andrews and cheerfully welcomed the Prime Minister,” the MEA said. Mr Modi is also scheduled to have official bilateral meetings in the next few hours with US vice-president Kamala Devi Harris, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga....