India Inc hails Obama win, sees upswing in India-US ties

November 5th, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) With a slowdown hitting world economies and the US facing a recession, India Inc has hailed Democrat Barack Obama’s historic win in the race to the White House with the hope it will strengthen US ties with India.”Bilateral and economic relationships between India and US would further improve and intensify,” said Sajjan Jindal, president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), a leading industry lobby.

“Greater cooperation between the US and India at this critical juncture will be highly desirable,” Jindal said, while congratulating Obama, who won against Republican rival John McCain.

“The biggest expectation for India from the new president is the reversal of the decline of the US economy,” said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

“Barack Obama represents a new and fresh opportunity for future of the world and India in particular,” Ficci chief Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in a statement.

R.K. Pachauri, the head of the UN-mandated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an institution honoured with the Nobel peace prize, said Obama’s win should generate all-round optimism.

“The US has a unique opportunity to assume leadership in meeting the threat of climate change and it would help greatly if the new president were to announce a coherent and forward looking policy soon after he takes office,” he said.

“There is every reason to believe that President Obama will actually do so.”

Even India’s software and business process outsourcing industry, which has been worried over the policies on employment to be followed by the next US president, appeared happy with Obama’s victory.

“Nasscom shares many of the same economic and diplomatic goals outlined by president-elect Obama during the course of his campaign,” said the National Association of Software and Service companies, a representative body for the Indian IT industry.

“Specifically, we support expanding the H1B visa programme so that highly skilled workers can help companies lead the way on innovation and contribute additional jobs and economic growth in the United States.”

Barely a week before his historic win, Obama had told IANS in an interview that he wanted to end abuses of the H1-B visas that is used by highly qualified specialists to work in the US.

“I would like to see immigrant workers less dependent on their employers for their right to stay in the country, and would hold accountable employers who abuse the system and their workers,” he said.

“We live in a more competitive world and that is a fact that cannot be reversed. We know that we cannot and should not put up walls around our economy.”

Apart from outsourcing, there were some concerns on India’s competitiveness in the global agriculture market, particularly in the backdrop of US reluctance to cut farm subsidies to the desired levels that has kept multilateral trade talks deadlocked.

“If the US increases agriculture subsidy as stated by Mr. Obama in his speech earlier, it will give a jolt to agro exports from India and other third world countries,” said Ganesh Kumar Gupta, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

“The US may enter into somewhat of a protectionist regime that may hamper export to US marginally,” warned the chief of the umbrella body of India’s exporting community.

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