BPO, visa posers await Obama

BPO, visa posers await Obama

Disclosing this to journalists here on Friday, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said India will raise concerns expressed by its IT industry over the US curbs.He was replying to a question on the areas India expected to see a positive improvement during Obama’s visit.

Krishna, however, stressed that the commonalities between India and the US were so strong the problems in perception on some issues wouldn’t mar the relationship.
Obama will land in Mumbai on November 5 and visit some of the 26/11 terror-hit areas. He will stay at the Taj Hotel, the target of the attack. As already reported by the Deccan Herald, Obama will not visit the IT hub of Bangalore in view of India’s sensitivity over the outsourcing issue during his four-day visit to the country.

The US recently hiked H1-B and L1 visa fee for foreign companies, particularly outsourcing giants from India, a controversial step that could cost India’s IT industry $200 million a year.
On the US apprehensions over the Civil Nuclear Bill that Parliament passed recently, Krishna said he held a long discussion with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the issue. “I informed her that the Bill has been passed not keeping any country in view, much less the USA. There is a level playing field for everyone to do nuclear commerce. We conveyed the same to France, Russia and others.” Speaking on a range of issues, Krishna, basking in the glory of India being voted as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, said it was an example of India’s recognition of its global standing. “It was the finest hour for India in the global arena. This provides a foothold for us in the UNSC.

“It is an awesome responsibility. We will be called upon to take decisions on a daily basis. India should be prepared to take a call at any given time; emergencies can come up, there may be no time for reflex action. India being a seasoned player, we will be able to live up to the expectations of our role as a UNSC member.”

On India’s demand for UN reforms, he remarked: “We have to push relentlessly. The UNSC should reflect the realities of the new world. The world has undergone a metamorphosis; there are a large number of countries which have emerged strongly. Reforms are a larger area, still being discussed. The top five countries (permanent members) should revisit the issue and bring in reforms. The silver lining is text-based negotiations are going on, our interlocutors have been conducting dialogue with them and I am sure this will yield dividends.”

Asked whether there would be changes in India’s position in critical areas as it is eager to become a permanent member of the UNSC, Krishna said: “India has held onto its positions on many issues all through and continues to do so. But as a member of the Security Council, the responsibility is a million-fold more on India. India has to be the voice of moderation in these. Globally, things have changed. In the changed circumstances, India will have to be an active member.”

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