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From Elon Musk to Neil deGrasse Tyson: The business and thought leaders set to meet Modi on US visit


Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will meet Tesla boss Elon Musk, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Indian-American chief executives, and an array of leaders during his tightly packed state visit to the US this week.

Mr Modi left on Tuesday for the US, where Joe Biden will host him despite the Indian leader’s two terms in office marred with allegations of rising religious polarisation and human rights abuse.

The 72-year-old Indian leader has been to the US five times since becoming prime minister in 2014. But this will be Mr Modi’s first with the full diplomatic status of an official state visit, just the third of Biden’s presidency and third by any Indian leader.

It indicated the strengthening bond between Washington and New Delhi amid the rising Chinese threat in the East and the Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.

American lawmakers have invited Mr Modi to address a joint meeting of Congress for the second time – a rare honour for a leader once denied visa to enter the US based on human rights concerns.

“This special invitation is a reflection of the vigour and vitality of the partnership between our democracies,” Mr Modi said in a statement ahead of his journey.

“I will also meet some of the leading CEOs to discuss opportunities for elevating our trade and investment relationship and for building resilient global supply chains,” he added.

Mr Musk is among the business leaders Mr Modi is scheduled to meet after senior Tesla officials reportedly sat down with India’s deputy minister for technology in New Delhi last month.

Tesla is believed to be scouting for a location for a manufacturing facility in India. The prime minister previously met Mr Musk in 2015 during a visit to the Tesla Motors factory in California.

Mr Modi, during his three-day visit, will also meet nearly two dozen thought leaders, Nobel laureates, economists, artistes, scientists and scholars.

The Indian leader will meet astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, economist Paul Romer, statistician Nicholas Nassim Taleb, Nobel laureate Peter Agre, investor Ray Dalio and singer Falu Shah among others.

At the state dinner hosted at the White House lawns on Thursday, Indian American chief executives Satya Nadella from Microsoft, Sunder Pichai from Google and Raj Subramaniam from FedEx are expected to be in attendance.


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