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India is important to global economy & Facebook: Sheryl Sandberg

After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Facebook COO says: 'We look forward to working together on to bring the next billion people online'

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi with Sheryl Sandberg
Narendra Modi with Sheryl Sandberg

A Government that announces most of the developments and decisions on the social media platforms, it is not surprising that it would take advantage of the platforms further. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, discussed with Facebook's chief operating officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg, who is currently in India, about possible ways to use social media platform like for better governance.

Modi, who is the second most followed political figure on Facebook, after Barack Obama, with close to 19 million followers, said in a post on his wall: "Being an avid user of social media myself, I talked about ways through which a platform such as can be used for governance and better interaction between the people and governments."

Further, Modi also wants to explore ways to use as a tool for marketing India as a tourists destination. "Had a very fruitful meeting with She pointed out that India is a very important country for Facebook,considering the high number of active users in India," Modi has written.

Sandberg, who has been in India for the past few days, has been talking about partnerships with Government besides the corporations and non-government organisations, in India as part of its aim to connect the next billion in the country. "He (Modi) told us how he believes that direct communication with people all over the world is critical to effective governance and he plans to continue using and other social media tocommunicate with the people of India and the world," Sandberg wrote on her page after the meeting.

Digital diplomacy can change our and international dialogues and that is why he (Modi) plans "to champion the freeand open on the world stage", she further added. Sandberg, who is on a five-day visit, met Modi along with Facebook's Global Public Policy Vice President Marne Levine and India Head of Public Policy Ankhi Das. "India is important to the global economy, as well as to Facebook, and we look forward to working together on org to bring the next billion people online. Access = opportunity -creating more economic, social and political opportunities for the people of India," Sandberg noted in her post.

In an official statement, Modi said the Government intends to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary yearwith a special focus on cleanliness and he has spoken to Sandberg on how can assist in this. Sandberg also met communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad later during the day.

Post meeting, Prasad said the Government is willing to join hands with Facebook, which has enormous potential in India,in areas like education, healthcare and other sectors. "We wish to work together. is there in India in nine languages and I have requested them to add more languages to it," Prasad said.

"We tend to work together in e-governance,education and other basic services through which people can connect to eachother and to the world economy," Sandberg said after her meeting with Prasad.

First Published: Thu, July 03 2014. 20:02 IST