India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming to Silicon Valley this weekend.
Judging by the excitement his visit is causing, you’d think it was the Pope himself.
Bloomberg hailed it as historic moment, pointing out that “No Indian prime minister has visited California in more than 30 years.” San Jose’s own Mercury News dug even deeper back in time, declaring that Modi’s visit will be “the most highly anticipated since Jawaharlal Nehru, the anti-colonial hero and first prime minister, addressed an overflow crowd at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre in 1949.” Nehru was a revolutionary leader who helped India break away from the British Empire. So Modi’s visit has to be huge, right?
Modi has a tightly packed schedule: Over just a few days, he is expected to visit Google, Tesla, Facebook and more. At Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg will host a “townhall” Q&A session with the Indian leader, to be broadcast on Indian public TV. “Prime Minister Modi and I will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges,” Zuck announced in a Facebook post, writing that he was “excited” and that it was an “honor” to host the event.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s newly minted CEO, released a pre-recorded welcome message in anticipation of Modi’s visit: “There is a tremendous excitement for you amongst all Googlers and the entire Indian community.” He praised the leader’s “Digital India” plan to plug India’s 1.2 billion people into to the Internet, calling it “revolutionary.”
But not everyone in Silicon Valley buzzing with positive vibes for Narendra Modi…