Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed more than 350 business leaders on Saturday evening as he continued his US West Coast tour, promoting the ability of Internet connectivity to help lift people out of poverty and connect users to education and health services. The 65-year-old Modi, the first Indian leader to visit the West Coast in more than 30 years, announced at a dinner that Google Inc would bring wireless Internet to more than 500 Indian railway stations “in a short time.”
Modi, who boasts an 87 percent approval rating in India, also used the speech to sell technology executives on his “Digital India” initiative, which aims to connect thousands more Indian villages to the Internet, create more tech jobs and move more services online.
Modi met with the who’s who of the technology world, including Google’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Apple’s Tim Cook, Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen.
Here’s are a few quotes from Modi’s speech at Silicon Valley that show just how in-sync he is with new technology and the times.
1) I have met many of you in Delhi and New York, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These are the new neighbourhoods of our new world.
2) Google today has made teachers less awe-inspiring and grandparents more idle. Twitter has turned everyone into a reporter.
3) The status that now matters is not whether you are awake or asleep, but whether you are online or offline.
4) The most fundamental debate for our youth is the choice between Android, iOS or Windows.
5) From computing to communication, entertainment to education, from printing documents to printing products, and, now to internet of things, it’s been a long journey in a short time.
6) From cleaner energy to better healthcare and safer transport, everything is converging around the work you do.
7) In Africa, it’s helping people transfer money on phone. It has made reaching small island states no longer a journey of adventure, but a convenient click of a mouse. A young professional in San Francisco can Skype daily to comfort her sick grandmother in India.
8) The pace at which people are taking to digital technology defies our stereotypes of age, education, language and income.
9) Customers, more than creators, are defining the use of a product.
10) I see technology as a means to empower and as a tool that bridges the distance between hope and opportunity. Social media is reducing social barriers. It connects people on the strength of human values, not identities.
11) Technology is forcing governments to deal with massive volume of data and generate responses, not in 24 hours but in 24 minutes.
12) I spoke of E-Governance as a foundation of better governance – efficient, economical and effective. I now speak of M-Governance or mobile governance. That is the way to go in a country with one billion cell phones and use of smart phones growing at high double digit rates.
13) Building I-ways are as important as highways.