Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s four-day state visit to the US yielded a myriad of groundbreaking agreements spanning defense, technology, civil space exploration, and visa protocols, solidifying a multifaceted and conviction-driven partnership between both nations.
PM Modi’s tour was marked by high-level engagements with US President Joe Biden, technology titans, and the Indian diaspora, as well as an address to the Congress.
In a joint statement issued after the talks at the White House, Biden and Modi pledged to “facilitate greater technology sharing, co-development, and co-production opportunities between US and Indian industry, government and academic institutions.”
Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google committed to ramping up investments in India as a key market following separate meetings Prime Minister Modi held with President Biden and top technology executives at the White House.
Amazon announced plans to invest an additional $15 billion in India by 2030, including $12.7 billion for cloud infrastructure through its AWS division.
In a significant move, Google’s Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced the opening of a global financial-technology center in Gujarat International Finance Tech-City (GIFT City).
“It’ll cement India’s fin-tech leadership,” Pichai said, referring to Indian innovations such as Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Aadhaar. “We’re going to build on that foundation and take it globally.”
Google also aims to bring its artificial intelligence chatbot Bard to more Indian languages.
During Modi’s visit, Micron Technology Inc. announced an investment of more than $800 million as part of a $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and testing facility in India.
Applied Materials will invest about $400 million over four years in a new engineering center in India.
In defense collaborations, GE Aerospace-Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will jointly manufacture F414 engines for the Tejas light-combat jets. A new defense pact to let US Navy ships undertake repairs at Indian shipyards is in the works.
Setting sights on space, NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation, or Isro, have charted a course for a joint mission to the International Space Station next year.
Towards the end of his tour on Friday, PM Modi reflected on the transformative agreements made during his visit. He said, “This tour has led to a great positive transformation,” and added, that both countries will together demonstrate that “democracies matter and democracies deliver”.
In a witty moment while addressing the joint session of the US Congress, Modi remarked, “In the past few years, there have been many advances in AI (artificial intelligence). Simultaneously, there have been even more momentous developments in another AI – America and India.”
Modi attended the state dinner at the South Lawn of the White House hosted by President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The dinner was attended by top executives in the tech world and billionaire industrialists, including Mukesh Ambani, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Toward the end of his visit, Modi addressed about 7,000 Indians and Indian Americans who had gathered at the White House lawns, along with Biden.
As part of its plans to ease immigration rules, the US is expected to introduce in-country renewable H-1B visas. Immigrants in the US on the H-1B visa earlier needed to get their visas renewed at the consulates in the home countries. The resumption of the facility which was available for foreign workers in the US until 2004 will allow them to renew their visas without stepping out of the country.
“A lot of you have had issues with H-1B visa renewals. We have now decided that you will not have to go outside America to renew these visas. This visa will get renewed in America itself. We will try and implement a similar procedure for L category visas in the future,” Modi said.
Meanwhile, PM Modi arrived in Cairo for his maiden state visit to Egypt on Saturday. He is expected to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Sunday.
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