In a first, Google CEO Sunder Pichai visited the Indian Embassy in Washington and held discussions with India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, on various aspects of the tech company’s activities in the country, particularly its aggressive push towards digitization.
“Thank you” Ambassador Sandhu for the great conversation, Mr Pichai said in a tweet after his visit to the Indian Embassy in downtown Washington DC late last week. This is for the first time that a top Indian American tech CEO has visited the embassy in Washington.
“Appreciated the chance to discuss Google’s commitment to India and look forward to continuing our support for India’s digital future,” said Mr Pichai, who in January this year was named among the 17 awardees to receive Padma Bhushan.
“Technology that transforms; ideas that enable!” tweeted Mr Sandhu. “Delighted to receive” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai at the Embassy, he said.
“Exchanged thoughts on expanding India-US commercial, knowledge & tech partnership with Google,” the Indian envoy said.
Google under Mr Pichai has made massive investment in India and phenomenally expanded its footprint in a wide range of sectors including its training to the younger generation.
It has announced an investment of about $10 billion under Google for India digitization. It also has partnerships with Reliance’s Jio as well as with Bharti Airtel. In addition, it is partnering with India on workforce development and skill development. They are working with the government on Digital India Program, and national digital literacy mission.
During the meeting with the Indian Ambassador, Mr Pichai was very appreciative of the very initiatives that have been taken by India and underscored how Google is looking at India in a very positive framework. The Ambassador highlighted the knowledge and education partnership.
The Google CEO, during the conversation, is also believed to have discussed various ways in which its partnership with India forward in particular in the education sector. They also discussed digitization efforts in India in which Google is involved including digital payments and infrastructure digitization.
The Indian Ambassador noted that Google is an important partner in India’s digital transformation, which is a priority for the government.
Notably, Google and its parent company Alphabet played an important role in the COVID-19 crisis last year. They put a lot of money in terms of supporting India, and they were part of the global task force of American CEOs set up in this regard.
The Indian government has intensified its engagement with American CEOs. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had a meeting with a number of CEOs from the Silicon Valley during his trip to California early this month.
Mr Sandhu himself met several CEOs during his recent trips there. He also visited the universities in the Silicon Valley which are considered to be the hub of such innovation.
They also had a number of venture capitalists and start up entrepreneurs in San Francisco as part of India’s latest push to have greater engagement with the American tech sector.