The state visit of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to the United States of America this week has created unprecedented buzz in business circles. The important announcements include Google CEO Sundar Pichai saying that the Internet giant would set up its global fintech operation centre at GIFT City, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Pichai, who attended the White House state dinner hosted for Modi by President of the United States Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden, met the Indian head of state in Washington DC yesterday. He said that Google continues its investments in India through its USD10 billion India Digitisation Fund.
Modi’s visit included a meeting with top CEOs — other than Pichai, he met Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella; Apple CEO Tim Cook; OpenAI CEO Sam Altman; and AMD CEO Lisa Su.
Following his meeting with the Indian head of state, the Google CEO said, “Today, we are announcing the opening of our global fintech operations centre in GIFT City, Gujarat. It will cement India’s fintech leadership, thanks to UPI, and Aadhaar. We are going to build on that foundation and take it globally.”
The Indian-origin CEO said that it was exciting to see the progress that the country had made, particularly around the vision of ‘Digital India’ and the related economic opportunities.
He recalled, “I met the prime minister in December, and we continued our conversation. We shared that Google is investing USD10 billion in the India Digitisation Fund, and we are continuing to invest through that, including in companies working on Artificial Intelligence. As part of that, we have a 100-language initiative. We are bringing [a] bot to more Indian languages very soon.”
Modi’s vision for Digital India was ahead of its time, said Pichai. “I now see it as a blueprint that other countries are looking to do so,” he said.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a tweet that Prime Minister Modi invited Pichai to explore further avenues of collaboration in the domains of Artificial Intelligence, fintech, and cybersecurity products and services, as well as mobile device manufacturing in India.
They also discussed collaboration between Google and academic institutions in India to promote research and development, and skill development, the MEA added.
In July 2020, Google had announced plans to invest USD10 billion in India over the next five to seven years, as the search giant looked to help accelerate adoption of digital services in the key overseas market.
During his visit to India in December 2022, Pichai had announced that a part of the India Digitisation Fund was increasingly focusing on startups from India, and that USD300 million from the fund would be invested in entities led by women.
Google had announced collaboration with the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science to collect speech data from 773 districts across India to fine-tune its language translation and search technology.
The Internet major announced a grant of USD1 million to set up India’s first Responsible Artificial Intelligence Centre at IIT Madras and USD1 million grant via Google.org to Wadhwani AI towards using advanced technology for better agricultural outcomes.