He did it again. That is the overall assessment of both Indian and American observers as they take stock of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to the US, spanning the two coastlines to push India’s economic, commercial and strategic goals.

The five days had a punishing schedule – Modi met business moguls, dined with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, exhorted world leaders on United Nations reforms, took photos with hundreds of Indian Americans, addressed two UN summits, inaugurated “IndiaUS StartUp Konnect”, visited Facebook, Google and Tesla, performed at a diaspora rally of thousands and topped it all with a meeting with President Barack Obama.

It was a wide and varied canvas befitting India’s wide and varied interests. But it was also about him – a leader increasingly under criticism at home because of family ties and the failure to deliver on major reforms but one who can command attention abroad.

Nisha Biswal, the State Department’s point person for South Asia, said, he was the “greatest brand ambassador for India,” a sentiment broadly echoed. Richard Verma, the US ambassador to India, confirmed there was “renewed momentum” in bilateral ties as he attended the Indian American community reception for Modi last week in San Jose.

It was deemed difficult to top last year’s high-profile first visit when Modi got a personal tour of the Martin Luther King Jr memorial by Obama and was introduced by Hugh Jackman in front of thousands in New York’s Central Park. But he managed, though credit must also go to the hard-working Indian Foreign Service officers who crafted and delivered a heavyweight programme and survived.

Here’s a sampling.

Calling Silicon Valley
By far the most important “connect” Modi made was with the technology kings, 350 of whom attended a dinner meant to showcase the Digital India initiative. Paying a tribute to his audience whose net worth would add up to billions, he said, “From cleaner energy to better healthcare and safer transport, everything is converging around the work you do.”  He pitched the large Indian market hungry for their products, speaking in tech-savvy language for the Twitter and Facebook generation.

He met privately with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayan, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Cisco’s John Chambers among others. The highlights were Pichai’s announcement to provide WiFi to 500 railway stations and Paul Jacobs (Qualcomm) promising to set up a $150 million fund to fund Indian startups.

Modi’s visit, the first in 30 years by an Indian prime minister, was in sharp contrast to Chinese president Xi Jinping – Modi wooed unabashedly and went to the Valley gods while Xi had the gods come to him in Seattle.

Privately, the Valley people complained about difficulties in India – from setting up a company, providing venture capital to closing it down if it fails. Then the perennial lack of infrastructure – from good roads to clean water – everything is a hassle.

Hugging Obama
Giving each other a hug, it was the fifth time Modi and Obama have met in a year. Obama called him “my good friend,” and Modi said how deeply he valued the friendship and the India-US relationship. Unlike the Congress party, Modi has no qualms about embracing America – if it is in India’s interests. He is moving faster with the US even though the US-Pakistan and US-China equations make the strategic picture complex.

The remarks made by Obama and Modi after their meeting reflected their priorities. Obama was all about climate change – he wants progress in Paris as part of his legacy. Modi wants to protect India’s development space. He will go green but the Americans must help with technology and finance.

Instead of announcing India’s Intended National Determined Contributions to fight climate change at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, Swarup said the announcement would come on Gandhi Jayanti.  Apparently, an India-US climate agreement is also in the works.

Modi listed what he wants from Obama – US support for India’s permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council, India’s membership in various international export control regimes and membership in Asia-Pacific Economic Community. There is a clear attempt to make the narrative on Indo-US relations more balanced where it is not just the Americans listing their demands.

The Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, held two days before Modi’s arrival, took stock of the bilateral relations with three Indian ministers in attendance. US officials said the pace of reforms was slow, the business climate still muggy with regulations, a slow judicial system and tax uncertainties. India asked for a “totalisation agreement”, more market access and relief from all the noise around H-1B visas. They announced several new initiatives, including joint training of peacekeeping forces in Africa and a regular foreign secretary-level dialogue.

UN reforms
Modi was deployed in New York to meet as many world leaders as humanly possible to press for their votes on a resolution for pursuing text-based negotiations for UN reforms. It is the first time in the nearly 20-year long effort by the outsiders to get into the Security Council that UN members have something concrete in hand.

To bolster the effort, Modi participated in a G-4 summit with the leaders of Germany, Japan and Brazil – the three other aspirants for a Security Council seat. It was the first time in five years a summit-level meeting was held because the US had persuaded Japan to stay away. This time it is a different G-4 because at least three of the four leaders have strong mandates and loom large on the world stage.

Since every UN vote counts, Modi met the leaders of Guyana, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Egypt, Mexico, Jordan, Palestine, Cyprus and Sweden apart from Britain and France, the two permanent members who were more forthcoming in their support for India’s entry. China, Italy and Pakistan will do their bit to stymie the effort.

Modi didn’t neglect the neighbourhood either and found time to meet the leaders of Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Nepal’s prime minister was not attending given the situation at home. That left Pakistan, a story largely propped up by TV channels. India’s agenda in New York was far bigger than “bumping” into Nawaz Sharif in the hotel elevator. Finally they waved at each other and that’s good enough for now.

While it is one of India’s foreign policy goals, the expansion of the Security Council remains a distant dream. Even bro Obama is not fully behind it.

Hyper-enthusiastic diaspora
Modi remains popular among non-resident Indians who turned out in thousands to attend his rally in San Jose’s cavernous SAP Center. It was ironic but he asked them if he had performed well so far, they responded loudly with a thunderous “yes”. They chanted his name, many touched his feet at a community reception and wanted a selfie with the selfie king. He called them the “brain deposit” that will cash at the right time.

Members of his fan club even penetrated (or were planted) at the Digital India dinner and at Facebook’s Hacker Square. They erupted in chants, taking away from the seriousness of Modi’s speech.

It was especially embarrassing at the Facebook meet since it ended on a sombre note with Modi recalling the hardships suffered by his mother and choking on his words. The chanting was wholly inappropriate and tacky. The BJP managers would do well to restrain their supporters abroad.

As for the protesters, they barely got any attention – not even a scuffle with the media like the last time – as the Modi juggernaut rolled on.