This is an Indian Sputnik moment for the local technology industry: Silicon Valley investor Balaji SrinivasanProminent Silicon Valley investors and entrepreneurs including Balaji S. Srinivasan and Naval Ravikant, founder of AngelList, want to back Indian technology companies which stand to gain as 59 Chinese apps were banned by the local government on Monday.

Balaji, who was previously a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, tweeted asking for pitches from companies that are building the Indian version of the apps that are on the banned list. I spoke to him to understand more about his initiative with Ravikant.

What is the idea behind you and Naval Ravikant coming together for India Stands Up? Is it a direct reaction to the 59 Chinese apps being banned in India?

We have wanted to do something in India for some time, and this was a good opportunity.

Would you look to invest in the Indian apps and platforms which are sending you their prototypes? If you do invest, will it be in your personal capacity?

We certainly may invest, but no promises. We want to see what is out there first. The source of funds will vary depending on the deal.

What do you think of the Indian government’s call to ban these Chinese apps? Do you think it is an apt move coming on the back of geopolitical tensions between the two countries? Do you think other countries will follow?

Peace and trade are generally good, particularly in a time of pandemic and economic depression when resources are scarce. With that said, this ban may turn out to be a powerful way for India to channel its energy into something that both serves Indian national security and builds up its own technology ecosystem. Ideally, this is an Indian Sputnik moment — a time to show the world that India can build apps on par with anyone.

While China has banned outsiders in the technology sector, China-based tech companies and investors have been allowed to operate globally.. How will the current anti-China stand impact the technology industry going ahead?

In the US, there is already the context of the trade war and the negative sentiment around Corona. I think there is more focus on bringing manufacturing back to the US but I wouldn’t be surprised to see TikTok banned in the US.

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