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India's Prime Minister tells California crowd 21st century 'is India's century'

By
Shawn Price
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a welcoming ceremony May 15 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. He finished up a two-day trip to California's Silicon Valley seeking to strengthen India's ties to American tech companies like Google, Facebook and others. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a welcoming ceremony May 15 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. He finished up a two-day trip to California's Silicon Valley seeking to strengthen India's ties to American tech companies like Google, Facebook and others. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- India's Prime Minister finished his trip to California's Silicon Valley by telling a mostly Indian American crowd "the 21st century is India's century" and vowed a partnership that would transform his country.

Speaking in Hindi at San Jose's SAP Center, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up a two-day trip where he met with the leaders of Facebook, Google, Apple, Uber, Tesla and other startups, as well as political leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He told an enthusiastic crowd "You have forced the world to change the way they look at India.

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"For some time now, people are saying that the 21st century is India's century."

The weekend courting between Modi and American tech companies comes as the prime minister begins feeling the pressure to live up to his promise of good jobs for a nation that is mostly younger than 35 years old. Meanwhile, U.S. tech companies want to reach an Indian market of 1.25 billion people who have become more and more affluent.

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Modi dodged sore spots like outsourcing, intellectual property rights or tax policies.

Earlier in the day, Modi met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai to announce a deal that Google will install high-speed wi-fi in about 400 of India's railway stations, including 100 of the busiest stations by the end of the year. The project will be the biggest of its kind in India and one of the biggest in the world.

"California is the place where [information technology] and our democratic values have tied us together in a union," Modi said. "India's link with this region has been unbroken and ongoing -- the Indian community here can contribute to building that future."

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