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Facebook, Silicon Valley, 'like' Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

MENLO PARK, Calif. — On Facebook's campus on Sunday, two of the world's most powerful men used the high-tech company's pulpit to promote a mutually beneficial platform: the growing power and influence of social media and the future of the digital economy in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg received a warm reception from a friendly crowd of about 1,000, many of them Indian immigrants and Silicon Valley workers who support his "Digital India" initiatives which call for more high-speed Internet access and tech jobs to raise the standard of living in a country where so many still live in poverty.

"We are an $8 billion economy today. My dream is for India to become a $20 trillion dollar economy," Modi said during his hour-long appearance at Facebook alongside Zuckerberg.

Modi and Zuckerberg had a one-on-one meeting before the event, yet more evidence of the deepening ties between India and Silicon Valley and of their increasingly entwined fortunes.

Facebook is wooing Modi as it looks to expand in the potentially lucrative Indian market. Facebook has launched an effort to connect Indians to the Internet through Internet.org, but that has met with resistance from some in India who say the project unfairly favors the giant social network and other services.

Modi's two-day swing through Silicon Valley — the first time an Indian head of state has been in California in 33 years — has commanded the attention of top tech CEOs. Modi met with Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook to seek investment in India...


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