Rahul Gandhi
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Washington (PTI): Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will interact with global thinkers, political leaders and overseas Indians in the US this week on international economic and technology issues, an organiser of his visit said.

Gandhi, 47, begins his nearly two-week trip to the US with an address at the University of California, Berkeley, on Monday on contemporary India and the path forward for the world’s largest democracy.

His great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, delivered a speech at Berkeley in 1949.

“The purpose of the visit is two-fold. One is to meet interesting and global thinkers, to have a conversation on what is happening world over on economy, on technology, on opportunities, and really understand different views from experts on the global scene,” technocrat Sam Pitroda, who is involved with the preparations of Gandhi’s visit, told PTI.

Pitroda worked with Gandhi’s father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi for nearly a decade to transform India’s telecom sector.

He said Gandhi will meet overseas Indians at an event in New York as part of an outreach by the Congress party.

The Congress vice president is scheduled to visit Washington DC. He is likely to address members of the think- tank community at an event organised by the Centre for American Progress, and interact with the corporate world at another programme organised by the US-India Business Council.

Gandhi may meet some members of the ruling Republican Party. “A lot of these meetings are going to be small and private,” Pitroda said.

“He wants to understand more about what’s happening globally and what’s the global view of the situation is,” he said.

The Congress vice president has often visited the US, but this could possibly be the first time in his political career that Gandhi would hold public meetings, meet political leaders and deliver speeches in the country.

“You know he needs to be out, he needs to express his views. You know he has been not, may be, talking publicly about his trips. But I think, it is important that he meets a large number of people this time and also overseas Congress members,” Pitroda said.

“Today, the view of India is one short of protected by one group of people. We need to really talk about Indian aspirations, Indian concerns about what is going on not just in India but the world over. Rise of populism is one topic I am sure will come up in the conversation,” Pitroda said.

He said Gandhi would interact with Silicon Valley people, where the technology, talent and Indian “brain power” is concentrated. “So, the idea is if you were to meet a lot of Silicon Valley people, it is better to talk about things in San Francisco.”

Gandhi will also address a gathering at the Princeton University.

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