NEW DELHI: Breaking his silence on being an integral part of the Make in India initiative, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed at length with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the possibilities of manufacturing and retailing Apple devices in the country as the two met here on a sweltering hot Saturday.
Cook not only shared Apple's future plans for India but also appreciated the breadth of young talent in the country, saying the youth here have significant skills which Apple would like to tap.
The 55-year-old head of Cupertino-based tech giant told Modi about the immense potential for "app-development" that exists in the country, elaborating on the Map Development Centre that Apple is setting up in Hyderabad, a statement from Prime Minister's Office said.
"He appreciated the prime minister’s initiatives in ease of doing business,” the statement added.
On his part, Modi explained his Digital India initiative and identified its three key objectives as e-education, health and increasing farmers' incomes. "Modi sought support from Apple in these objectives," it read.
Congratulating the prime minister on the recent assembly election results where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won for the first time in Assam, Cook told Modi that he had been received with great warmth.
He spoke about his visit to different parts of the country and his meetings with the people including youth, business leaders and film actors. In particular, he mentioned his visit to the the famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai and watching a cricket match.
Modi told him that in India, “seeing is believing” and added that these experiences would definitely steer Cook’s business decisions for the country.
Issues regarding cyber security and data encryption also came up for discussion. The prime minister encouraged Cook to help the global community to cope with the challenges of cyber crime.
The Apple CEO also appreciated the prime minister’s initiatives for renewable energy, saying that Apple runs on 93 percent renewable energy and it will move entire supply chain to renewable energy soon.
Delegation members accompanying Cook 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.
Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa P. Jackson, who reports directly to Cook, visited the non-profit The Barefoot College in Tilonia, Ajmer, this week.
“Powerful: Visiting amazing solar mamas in Rajasthan and visiting a school using iPads to teach. @BarefootCollege,” she tweeted, which was later retweeted by Cook.
Founded by social activist Sanjit 'Bunker' Roy, The Barefoot College trains rural women in assembling and manufacturing solar lamps, hence called “solar mamas.”
Cook also launched an updated version of the "Narendra Modi Mobile App" during his meting with the prime minister.
In an exchange of tweets later, the two praised each other.
"Thank you @tim_cook! Friends, welcome and happy volunteering. Your views and efforts are always enriching," Modi tweeted.
Cook replied: "Thanks @narendramodi for a great meeting. Already looking forward to next visit to India. Best wishes on the app!"
"I am delighted to share that Tim Cook launched an updated version of the 'Narendra Modi Mobile App'. Thank you, Cook," said Modi in his tweet.
"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," the prime minister added.
They also deliberated on issues regarding cyber security and data encryption.
Modi encouraged Cook to help the global community to cope with the challenges of cyber crime.
In an interview with an Indian TV channel on Friday, Cook asserted that he was looking at India holistically and Apple was "here for the next thousand years" -- a comment that was hailed by Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at an event later.
"I complement Apple chief executive for a public commitment of one thousand years in India. We are ready to work together," Prasad said.
Cook also met Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, one of India's leading telecommunication companies which was the first to launch 4G in India and set to offer the service countrywide.
On the second day of his India visit, he inaugurated the tech giant's map development centre in Hyderabad and visited a women's college.
For the map development centre, Apple has partnered with Noida-based RMSI, a leading IT services player that offers GIS, analytics and software services.
Cook also revealed plans for an iOS app design and development facility in Bengaluru a day earlier.