If the reactions to Narendra Modi’s answers to a set of pre-determined questions asked by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A held at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park were anything to go by, the Prime Minister achieved an instant “connection”.
Speaking in Hindi to an audience largely drawn from Facebook employees, many of whom were of Indian origin, the Prime Minister spoke on a number of issues related to the impact and power of social media.
Welcoming the role of social media in connecting people and government in a large democracy such as India’s and also as a tool for diplomacy, Mr. Modi asked other world leaders not to avoid social media. “I used Chinese social media to wish their PM on his birthday. The huge reaction by the Chinese people surprised me. I wished the Israeli PM in Hebrew and he replied in Hindi,” he said. Mr. Zuckerberg appreciated the Prime Minister’s emphasis on using social media as a means of governance.
At FB, emphasis on deregulation
At a Q&A held at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park here on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that his government was keen on furthering India’s advantages in its demographic dividend, its democracy and overall “demand” by focusing on deregulation and in easing business activity.
“It is easy to turn a scooter, but much more difficult to move a train. The things we are trying out will cumulatively work out later,” he said.
He spoke on the need to expand the government’s initiatives to enhance infrastructure and ease of business and the need for women empowerment.
The packed crowd were largely appreciative of the answers. An engineer said he was impressed with the answers, but felt that PM could have been more specific about initiatives taken by his government.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Silicon Valley has not received as much attention in the U.S. media as the Pope’s visit or parleys between U.S. and Chinese presidents. But the welcome accorded and importance attached to the Prime Minister’s visit by Silicon Valley top executives, including Mr. Zuckerberg, has been clear to those covering the events.
(The writer is in Menlo Park, California at the invitation of Facebook)