What Can PM Modi's Visit To The Silicon Valley Achieve?

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On #IndiaHangOut, our panel of experts discuss Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to the Silicon Valley, which comes at a time when there is heightened investor interest in Indian startups. What can Modi's visit really achieve?

The panel included Neelam Deo, Former Ambassador and Director of Gateway House, Siddhartha Vardarajan, Founding Editor of The Wire and Shekhar Kirani, Partner, Accel India along with Govindraj Ethiraj.

Deo explained what the visit could achieve, “The first thing that a visit like this achieves is that it concentrates the minds of not only the leaders attending it, but the bureaucracies too. It will pull together all the understandings that have been arrived at in the last two summits between the Prime Minister of India and the American President.

It will bring back the focus on what the two sides want - increased trade from the American point of view and attracting investment from the Indian point of view. It’s a work in progress.”

Varadarajan stressed that not much had changed had changed since his last visit. “The reason the West Coast visit is important is because it shows that Prime Minister Modi’s focus is still essentially on the economy.

Things haven’t moved quite as fast as the government promised. Many of the traditional bottlenecks haven’t been removed or replaced as quickly as the international community had hoped. They will still be as welcoming but they will have greater demands from Modi. He has to account for the fact that not a lot has changed on the ground in the last year. This will be a tougher visit,” he said.

Kirani observed that Modi’s visit to the Silicon Valley as an incredible opportunity for India. “The two technology hubs – Bangalore and Silicon Valley - have a tighter connection and the two governments need to legitimise that. It will enable and ensure that we can leapfrog the products and services that are required in India and collaborate with the rest of the world,” he said.

“The amount of money moving from the US to India in the startup ecosystem is already of a considerable size. Investors want a sense of confidence that the government will protect their investments and will make it easy for money to move into India. Modi needs to establish that ease of business and ground support exists,” Kirani elaborated.

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