In a strategic move to expand its global footprint, OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory, is actively exploring opportunities in India. Sources reveal that the company is working closely with Rishi Jaitly, former head of Twitter India, who has taken on a senior advisory role to facilitate discussions with the Indian government on AI policy.
Jaitly, who previously led Google’s public-private partnership in India and later served as Twitter’s first employee in the country, is leveraging his expertise to help OpenAI navigate the intricacies of India’s policy and regulatory landscape. While it remains unclear whether Jaitly is formally employed by OpenAI, he has been instrumental in advising the company on establishing crucial connections in India.
OpenAI’s co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, visited New Delhi earlier this year and held discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Although no official announcements have been made, the visit signifies OpenAI’s interest in the Indian market. Altman’s positive comments on India’s embrace of AI during his visit further underscore the company’s eagerness to explore opportunities in the world’s second-largest internet market.
The journey into India comes amidst recent leadership changes at OpenAI. Altman and board president Greg Brockman were briefly ousted from the company but returned with a revamped board. The reshuffle indicates a renewed focus on strategic initiatives, including global expansion.
OpenAI’s Vice President of Global Affairs, Anna Makanju, is set to speak at the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence summit in Delhi. Sources reveal that Jaitly played a pivotal role in facilitating Makanju’s participation in the event, emphasizing collaborative AI for global cooperation.
Critics have noted India’s perceived lag in AI development, attributing it to funding challenges. While Indian AI startups have raised approximately $4 billion, comparisons with China’s $50 billion investment highlight the potential gap. However, a more sympathetic viewpoint suggests India’s AI development is nascent, with startups like Sarvam recently raising $41 million.
Indian government officials have signaled a commitment to AI development without imposing strict regulations. IT Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar advocates for international collaboration to establish a framework focused on safety and trust. This aligns with OpenAI’s efforts to understand and navigate the regulatory landscape.
Unlike OpenAI, Microsoft, OpenAI’s major investor and strategic partner, already boasts a significant presence in India. With R&D centers, data centers, and over 20,000 employees across the country, Microsoft’s established footprint provides a unique advantage.
OpenAI’s exploration of the Indian market, coupled with strategic collaborations and advisory support from Rishi Jaitly, signals a significant move in the global AI landscape. As the company focuses on regulatory considerations and navigates the complexities of the Indian market, industry watchers anticipate further developments in the near future.