PM Modi Meets Top US CEOs Across Key Sectors

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met top US CEOs across sectors in Washington DC on Thursday and pitched for investments in areas such as telecommunications, electronics and solar manufacturing in the country.

Modi met each of the five CEOs — Cristiano E Amon from Qualcomm, Mark Widmar from First Solar, Stephen A Schwarzman from Blackstone, Shantanu Narayen from Adobe and Vivek Lall from General Atomics individually.

In his meeting with Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, Modi discussed investment opportunities offered in India’s telecommunications and electronics sector. This included the recently launched Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing as well as developments in the semiconductor supply chain in India. Strategies for building the local innovation ecosystem in India were also discussed, officials said.

Amon expressed interest in Qualcomm’s participation in India’s ambitious digital transformation programmes including in building 5G networks, PM WANI and others. Amon also expressed interest in partnering with India to work in the field of semi-conductors.

The PM stressed that India has the scale for ambitious projects. He said that India has prepared 5G standards & urged Qualcomm to actively participate as they did in the case of supporting NavIC, where its chips support the country’s navigation signals.

Sources informed that the PM also spoke about the new liberalised drone policy and said that Qualcomm could take part in new opportunities.

Stephen Schwarzman informed Modi that India has been the firm’s best market for investment in the world. He explained about Blackstone’s investment in India and plans to further ramp it up. Modi said that there is huge scope for further expansion of Blackstone’s partnership in India and elaborated on the reforms done in India. He specifically spoke about asset monetisation and bad bank, sources said.

"Blackstone had invested $60 billion in assets in India. Over the next five years, we are planning another $40 billion in assets. We are one of the ten largest companies in India. He expressed appreciation and talked about the new programmes that are going on, including selling assets for the country, which I told him was a very good idea. Because you can take money from those sales of assets and reinvest in the country to create jobs in India," Schwarzman said.

The Blackstone CEO said he is very optimistic about India’s potential and added that it is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. He also appreciated the reforms undertaken by India.

Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe, informed Modi about Adobe’s ongoing collaboration and future investment plans in India. Discussions also focused on India’s flagship programme Digital India, and use of emerging technologies in sectors like health, education and R&D.

"Among the key topics we talked about were the need for continued investment in innovation, Artificial Intelligence, the importance of creativity and the changing media (landscape), the online world and the importance of startups," said Narayen. "In addition, we talked about how companies like Adobe can do more in India."

Narayen is understood to have appreciated the efforts of India in fighting Covid and particularly in the rapid vaccination. He is also understood to have expressed a desire to bring video, animation to every child in India.

With Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, the PM talked about India’s renewable energy landscape, particularly solar energy potential, and its target of 450 GW electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030, officials informed.

Discussions 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 PLI Scheme, as well as integrating India into global supply chains, officials added.

"We want to support the domestic market, but also want to be a technology leader leveraging capabilities that India provides but also compete on the global platform to participate in export to international markets," Widmar said.

Lall of General Atomics said India’s drone policy would attract investments from US companies.

"Many of my colleagues in US companies see India as a promising destination from a two-way standpoint. Not only technology and investments in (India) but coming back to the US. The policies and reforms that have been put in place by both countries benefit both countries, that is why it is a sustainable model," he said.

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