OpenAI First India Hire to Head Government Relations


OpenAI first India hire

OpenAI – ChatGPT’s parent organization – has appointed Pragya Mishra as its first official hire in India to handle government relations

As the head of public policy affairs and partnerships in India, Pragya will help with engagement goals and strategic planning for OpenAI in India.

While OpenAI has not released an official statement confirming Pragya Mishra’s employment, Bloomberg has reported that her duties will begin by the end of April.

Who is Pragya Mishra, OpenAI’s First India Hire?

Pragya Mishra, OpenAI’s first India hire

Pragya Mishra was WhatsApp’s first India hire was back in July 2018. As a critical part of the Meta company, she led WhatsApp’s campaign against misinformation.

In 2021 she became the Director of Public Affairs at the Stockholm-traded contact verification firm Truecaller. Here, she worked closely with key stakeholders, government ministries, and media partners.

Additionally, she has significant work experience at Ernst and Young and the Royal Danish Embassy in Delhi, India.

With Pragya’s proven portfolio, it’s easy to see why OpenAI recruited her as its first India hire. The appointment stresses the company’s hopes for favorable regulations regarding AI technology.

Understanding OpenAI’s Expansion Plans and India’s AI Market

Jason Kwon, CSO of OpenAI, revealed that India has the second-highest number of ChatGPT users after the US. According to statistics, ChatGPT has over 180.5 million users globally and India accounts for around 9.08%.

India has a population of 1.4 billion people and a fast-growing economy. This represents a massive growth opportunity for global AI companies such as OpenAI.

India’s significant contribution in terms of user base has led OpenAI to strengthen its ties with the country’s government to address challenges in regulating AI development.

ChatGPT mobile app interface

However, it’s important to note that OpenAI may face stiff competition in India. For instance, Alphabet Inc.’s Google has been working on an AI model designed specifically for Indian users since December 2020. The model would support over 100 local languages for speech and text. 

In July 2020, Google announced it would invest a massive $10 billion in India over 5–7 years. Additionally, Sundar Pichai said that the company will support a brand-new multidisciplinary center responsible for AI in collaboration with IIT Madras.

Given Google’s experience with the Indian market, its long-standing relationship with the Indian government, and Sundar Pichai’s Indian heritage, it may be difficult for OpenAI to sway government policies in its favor.


It’s also worth noting that Indian lawmakers and regulators focus more on the welfare of local firms. For example, Tesla was unable to enter India in 2022 because the Indian Government denied Elon Musk’s request to lower import taxes. 

Furthermore, in 2023 Sam Altman remarked that ‘it was quite hopeless for a team in India to build a foundational AI model on a limited budget that will be similar to OpenAI.’

Even though the OpenAI CEO may have been correct, the remark didn’t sit well with several Indian segments, and Altman was criticized.

However, OpenAI is looking to write a fresh narrative in India, as Jason Kwon announced that the company will host multiple developer summits across the country throughout the year.

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