Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will visit the Facebook headquarters in California on September 27, where he will hold a townhall interaction with the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Making the announcement on his Facebook page last Sunday (13), the prime minister invited questions for the town hall session. He said, “This programme will be incomplete without your participation! Share your questions on Facebook. I urge you all to share your questions on the Narendra Modi mobile app. Your questions will make this a programme to be remembered.”
Modi’s announcement came after Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post: “I’m excited to announce that prime minister Narendra Modi of India will be visiting Facebook HQ later this month for a townhall Q&A.
“Prime minister Modi and I will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges.”
It is the second time Zuckerberg will have a townhall event with a world leader at Facebook headquarters, after US president Barack Obama in April 2011, just before his re-election as president.
Facebook then had roughly over 500 million users globally. Today, it has 1.49 billion users. On August 24, one billion people were on Facebook globally on a single day.
Referring to his last meeting with Modi in India, Zuckerberg said, “I had the chance to visit Prime Minister Modi in India last year and it’s an honor to have the chance to host him here at Facebook.”
Modi had received Zuckerberg in October last year.
The Facebook CEO said questions should be addressed to Modi, adding that video would be posted live on his profile which will also be visible on Modi’s official page on Facebook.
India has the largest Facebook userbase outside the US. In June, the company had said 125 million users of its global base of 1.44 billion are from India.
Modi, who will be visiting Ireland and the US from next Wednesday (23) to September 29, will attend the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. After his Facebook event, he will address more than 18,000 Indian Americans at the SAP Center in San Jose, it was announced. He will also visit the Google headquarters in Santa Clara county near San Jose.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit is significant as Silicon Valley is the epicenter of innovation. There is excitement in the Indian diaspora about the change that Modi has brought in India and a feeling that things can be brought back on track,” Vinod Dham, father of the pentium chip and a venture capitalist, said in a video message.
Prakash Bhalerao, a high-tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, also expressed excitement over Modi’s upcoming visit.
“We are excited that we finally have a government in India that is focusing on the growth and development of the country. The prime minister’s visit to the Silicon Valley signifies a much needed change in the Indian government’s agenda, which is that massive change in India can only come through innovation and technology,” he said.
Indian Americans have played an important role in the success of the Silicon Valley. According to research conducted in 2012 by the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, Indian Americans have founded more technology companies than immigrants born in the next top seven immigrant-founder-sending countries combined.
The percentage of companies founded by an Indian American (33.1 per cent) was more than four times the next highest percentage by an immigrant group, the Chinese Americans (8.1 per cent).
Indian Americans founded 16 per cent of Silicon Valley’s startups and 6.5 per cent of those nationwide, despite Indian immigrants comprising much less than one per cent of the US population at the time the study was conducted.