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Bent on India conquest, Apple CEO bends before PM Modi

Showing interest in making Apple products in India, the global technology giant’s chief Tim Cook on Saturday discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “possibilities of manufacturing” and tapping the young talent pool in the country. 

On his maiden visit to India, the Apple CEO also discussed with Modi issues regarding cyber-security and data encryption. “Cook shared Apple Inc’s future plans for India. He spoke of the possibilities of manufacturing and retailing in India. He appreciated the breadth of young talent in India and said the youth have significant skills which Apple would like to tap,” an official statement said.

The head of the US-based Apple, which makes iconic iPhones and Mac computers, has already announced during this trip the setting of an app development centre in Bengaluru and one for maps in Hyderabad. During his meeting with Modi, Cook highlighted the immense potential for app development in the country.  He also launched an updated version of the PM’s mobile app at the meeting. He narrated to Prime Minister the experiences including a visit to Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai and watching a cricket match in Kanpur.

Modi, appreciating Cook, said in India “seeing is believing” and added these experiences would definitely steer his business decisions. After the meeting, Modi tweeted: “Thank you @tim_cook! Friends, welcome & happy volunteering. Your views and efforts are always enriching.”  He also shared photos with the Apple CEO on his Twitter handle. Cook, in a response, tweeted: “Thanks PM @narendramodi for a great meeting. Already looking forward to next visit to India. Best wishes on the app!” 

He also appreciated the Prime Minister’s initiatives on ease of doing business and renewable energy, the statement read. Cupertino-based Apple runs on 93 per cent renewable energy and Cook spoke of plans to move Apple’s entire supply chain to renewable energy.

Meanwhile, delegation members accompanying Apple CEO also spoke of their experiences in rural Rajasthan, where several villages have recently been electrified and women are being skilled to assemble and operate solar energy equipment. Both Cook and Modi shared stories of entrepreneurship that they had come across in app development and renewable energy, the statement added.

Cook said that the company is looking to be in India for a long run and it is “exactly the right time” to be in India as telecom firms roll out 4G high speed internet services. Apple, which is seeing declining sales elsewhere in the world, is betting big on India for growth as sales here saw an impressive 56 per cent growth during January-March. 

The company has been pushing for introducing refurbished phones in the country that may help in making its smartphones more affordable to a larger audience. However, the Government is yet to take a call on the matter.

Modi explained the ‘Digital India’ initiative and identified three key objectives of as e-education, health and increasing farmers’ incomes. The Prime Minister sought support from Apple in furthering these objectives and also encouraged Cook to help the global community to cope with the challenges of cyber-crime.

Cook also congratulated Modi on the recent election results and spoke about his visit to India and that he had been received with great warmth. Cook, who was on a four-day trip to India, met some of the key leaders of India Inc, including ICICI Bank’s Chanda Kochhar, Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry and Tata Consultancy Services CEO N Chandrasekaran.

The updated version of ‘Narendra Modi Mobile App’ contains a new volunteering network on the app. “I urge you to have a look at the new feature ‘My Network’ that empowers you to contribute on lively and enriching forums where you can share your ideas and deliberate with others. You will also enjoy the daily tasks on the App,” Modi tweeted.Earlier Cook had met Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel, and discussed matters like the 4G roll out in the country and growth in the Indian telecom space. 

Other top leaders from Bharti Airtel including CEO of India and South Asia Gopal Vittal were also present in the meeting that lasted nearly a hour.  
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