Uber co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick recently narrated how he was in a "scary situation" when he came to India in January for the Start Up India event. He had landed in India without a visa and it took an intervention from the top brass to get permission for him to stay in the country.
Kalanick had reached India on an early morning flight from Beijing when he realised that the visa he had was not eligible to let him into the country, which is the largest overseas market for the company. After intervention from the home secretary and the director of Intelligence Bureau, he was allowed in.
"I had the dates on the visa. On the Indian visa, they go the opposite direction. If they were in the US, so November 12 would be 11/12 in the US and 12/11 here (in India). There was a misunderstanding and I flew from Beijing into Delhi without a visa and it was a scary situation," he said.
He said it was Amitabh Kant, CEO Niti Ayog, who helped him in. "And thank you Amitabh for letting me actually enter the country."
Kant, who was DIPP Secretary, said he was woken up at about 2.30 in the morning. "And I had to wake up the Home Secretary and the Director IB to get him in."
"He (Kalanick) was put back on the plane and he was being shunted back to China. So, we had to get him on because he was here for Start Up India (event)," he said.
He had jokingly asked Kant how many people were able to get into India using influence. "You are the only one," Kant replied.
Kalanick was in India on December 14 and met President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday. He also met cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood actor Salman Khan.
Kalanick said that "sitting next to an icon, somebody who is a champion at the highest level, is just an inspiring thing." He visited Tendulkar in his home and later tweeted, "Learnt about a religion called cricket from the god himself!"
He also spent time with Salman Khan and saw how movies were made. "It was amazing," he said.
"I am from Los Angeles and my parents are from Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a new city. So, if your parents are from Los Angeles that basically means you are part of the founding team of the Los Angeles. And I have never been to a film studio," he said.