A hard Brexit would benefit India's information technology (IT) services companies to strengthen partnerships in the UK with an anticipated easing of the flow of high-skilled manpower, an industry expert said.
Former NASSCOM President, R Chandrashekhar expressed the view that if there was a "hard" Brexit, the UK would look for new partners and also eye establishing (new) partnerships in technology space. "... they (the UK) have already indicated that they want to be more open to high-skilled manpower from India because, in the current European Union regime, it is obviously easy for people from Europe to go to the UK compared to from India, even highly-skilled people. So, that disadvantage which Indian IT companies were having will reduce and to that extent, it would also be an opportunity," he told PTI.
Chandrashekhar added, "Closer ties with India in general -- it's known they want a free trade agreement with India... whether FTA happens or not, but closer trade linkage with India is a good background for the IT sector also". But the possible downside is that Brexit itself could have an adverse impact on the UK's economy, he said. "So, if the economy itself is hit, then again IT spending locally also reduces... that's typically the pattern.
So, that concern would also be there but as long as the effect is not much or too long, that problem will probably be a temporary problem but long term benefits probably will outweigh that in terms of closer relationship", he said. Chandrashekhar, a former Telecom Commission Chairman, said a lot of Indian companies were serving European markets with the UK as a base and that arrangement may not be possible going forward.
"They will need to cater to Europe separately. These are all adjustments to be made...," he said. "... also of their (the UK) having some arrangement whether it's customs union or Ireland backstop arrangements and something else, then whatever are those exact arrangements also will also have to be seen to estimate the effect for the Indian IT companies," he added. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday "paused" his Brexit Bill for leaving the European Union (EU) by the October 31 deadline after MPs vote for it 329 to 299 but then voted against a crucial attached motion that would have seen it through by the end of the week. If the UK government fails in its last-ditch attempt to get the new Brexit bill through Parliament in time, the default legal position remains for Britain to crash-out of the economic bloc without a deal on October 31.