Delhi to highlight Indian cos' contributions to US

Jaishankar to convey concerns on visa curbs

Delhi to highlight Indian cos' contributions to US

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tasked Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to highlight contributions of Indian companies and professionals to the economy of America during his engagements in Washington this week.

Jaishankar, who will reach Washington DC on Tuesday, will meet key officials of President Donald Trump’s administration and seek to dismiss the perception that Indian professionals in America are among the immigrants who are taking away jobs from US citizens. He will underline that Indian technology companies had directly or indirectly supported over 4,00,000 jobs in America between 2011 and 2015.

He will convey New Delhi’s concerns over recent moves in the US to restrict use of H1B visas. He will also drive home the point that Indian information technology professionals had contributed to the competitiveness of the US industry.

He is likely to meet acting Deputy Secretary of State, Tom Shannon, and other officials to set the course for New Delhi’s engagement with the new administration in Washington.

Jaishankar is visiting the US at a time when speculation is rife that Trump’s ‘America First’ policy on protecting jobs and his moves to curb immigration of skilled professionals from other countries might hit India’s $150 billion information technology services industry hard.

What has scared many Indian in America is the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who hailed from Hyderabad and was shot dead in a suspected ‘hate crime’ at Kansas in the US last week.

Sources on Monday told DH that New Delhi would underline facts and figures during its upcoming engagement with Washington and would highlight the contributions by the Indian companies and professionals to the economy of America.

Over 4,00,000 jobs have been directly and indirectly supported by Indian technology companies from 2011 to 2015, recording a 10% annual growth.

The foreign secretary is likely to cite during his engagement with senior US officials that Indian technology companies paid over $20 billion as taxes, $7.0 billion towards social security contributions and impacted over 1,20,000 American lives through corporate social responsibility contributions .

Srinivas and his friend Alok Madasani worked for multinational company Garmin Limited at Olathe in Kansas. They were shot at by  a local resident Adam Purinton, who, according to some reports in the US media, hurled racial slur at his victimsSrinivas was killed and Madasani was injured. Ian Grillot, a US citizen, was also hurt when he tried to save Srinivas and Madasani.

With the foreign secretary visiting Washington DC just days after Srinivas’ killing, he will convey to the US officials New Delhi’s concerns over the security of Indian professionals in America.

New Delhi is worried over not only the executive orders issued by the Trump Administration to restrict entry of immigrants into the US, but also the legislative moves in American Congress to bring in protectionist measures.

A bill sponsored by California Republican Representative Darrell Issa is now under review of American House of Representatives. The bill, known as ‘Protect and Grow American Jobs Act’ will require US companies to pay high-skilled foreign workers hired under the ‘exempt’ category of the H1B visa programme at least $100,000 a year, 40% more than the current minimum of $60,000. This will make it difficult for Indian IT companies to send professionals to US on H1B visas.

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