Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Will Court Tech Leaders During U.S. Visit

India's Internet speeds lag behind the developed world.


Lost in the ruckus over Pope Francis’s White House speech, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his tour of the U.S. this week in hopes of convincing American tech companies like Facebook and Google to invest in his country.

Modi’s visit comes on the heels of a freshly released report from The National Association of Software and Service Companies — a trade group for Indian technology firms — calculating the U.S. has earned $22.5 billion from tax revenue on deals between the two country’s firms since 2011.

During Modi’s 18 months in office, he’s made tech advancement a key part of his platform, certain it’s a way to break down social and economic barriers. He’s got a fine consumer base to bargain with. India has 1.3 billion people just waiting to log onto Facebook and Google, crucial figures for expansion considering China still blocks the services.

The Guardian reports that most of the country’s 300 million internet users can only get online using some of the slowest connections in the world, with only a sliver using anything comparable to broadband.

Modi’s U.S. agenda includes visits at Facebook, Tesla, and Apple, as well as meetings with Indian-native tech leaders like Google’s Sundar Pichai, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Those meetings could be key to India’s developing tech infrastructure, and bringing the second-most populous country up to speed.

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