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Indian Prime Minister Modi gets rave reviews after meeting with US CEOs

  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Sunday with top leaders of corporate America, in a CEO roundtable.
  • Executives told Modi about their concerns over India's regulatory environment and difficulty doing business there.

    India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Sunday with the creme de la creme of corporate America, in a CEO roundtable that contrasted sharply with a U.S. President Donald Trump's recent tech roundtable.

    Modi, who was expected to meet with Trump on Monday, attended the high-profile meetings set up via the Indian embassy, in which executives were said to have expressed concerns over India's current regulatory environment, which has made it difficult to invest and expand on the subcontinent.

    Some mentioned bureaucracy and a tough business climate as concerns as well.

    In the World Bank's annual report for 2017 on the ease of doing business globally, India ranked at 130 out of 190, with poor scores on factors including starting a business, resolving insolvency and paying taxes.

    Silicon Valley was well-represented at the meeting, with Apple's CEO Tim Cook, Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos, Google's Sundar Pichai and Adobe's Shantanu Narayan attending.

    When CNBC asked Cook how the meeting went, the Apple CEO responded by saying "fantastic."
    Other sectors were represented as well.

    Walmart's Doug McMilon also attended. McMillon was said to have sought a 1:1 meeting with Modi after the roundtable to convey his interest in continuing to expand his company's retail presence across India.

    Other attendees included Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld, Mastercard's Ajay Bhanga, Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein, IHS Markit's David Yergin and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

    Dimon, who after the meeting with Modi was spotted having lunch with former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, was also positive about his interactions with the Indian leader.

    "He [Modi] is always very receptive, he is open. He is very smart, very receptive, very actuary….I don't think there were any sticking points," said Dimon to CNBC.

    JPMorgan, Uber and Kalanick didn't immediately return CNBC's emailed requests for comment, sent outside office hours, on the topics discussed at that meeting.

    The CEOs' praise of Modi was a sharp contrast to Trump's meeting last week with tech CEOs.

    Photographs of that event spread across social media, largely because Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos all looked less than happy to be there.

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