By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit the ground running, holding back-to-back meetings with the top executives of five leading US companies from diverse sectors. Among the CEOs who met Modi in Washington DC the first day of his four-day US visit were Indian-Americans Shantanu Narayen, chairman of software major Adobe, and Vivek Lall, CEO of military drone manufacturer General Atomics. The others included Cristiano Amon of Qualcomm, a leader in 5G solutions; Mark Widmar, CEO of solar panel maker First Solar; and Stephen Schwarzman of global investment firm Blackstone. 

During the one-on-one meetings with the business leaders, Modi highlighted the unique opportunities India could offer to them, sources said.  Modi’s first interaction was with Qualcomm’s Amon and the discussion was on how 5G technology could be accelerated. “We talked about an incredible opportunity to advance the industry not only domestically in India but India as an export of technology,” Amon later said.

According to the PMO, the Qualcomm CEO “expressed keenness to work with India in areas such as 5G and other @DigitalIndia efforts”. Sources said Qualcomm wants to work with India on semi-conductors, 5G and the Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) scheme. 

Talks with Adobe’s Narayen revolved around the firm’s future investment plans in India. “Ideas to leverage Digital India flagship programme in sectors like health, education and R&D were also discussed,” said the Ministry of External Affairs.

India’s solar energy potential was the focus of Modi’s meeting with First Solar’s Widmar. “Discussions took place about First Solar’s interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in India using their unique thin-film technology,” MEA said.

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Modi’s meeting with Lall of General Atomics, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of military drones, came amid New Delhi’s plan to boost its defence arsenal. The two spoke about advancing defence manufacturing, use of emerging technologies and augmenting capacity building in India.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was conspicuous by his absence. He was reportedly scheduled to meet Modi on Thursday. 

Blackstone to invest $40 billion in India over 5 yrsIndia is Blackstone’s best market in the world, said the firm’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman. He said Blackstone has already invested $60 billion in assets in India and will pump in another $40 billion over the next five years