US companies to continue to outsource work to India: Consul

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Tiruchirapalli, Sep 10 (UNI) Consul for Public Affairs, US Consulate General, Chennai, Frederick J Kaplan said the American companies will continue to outsource work to India for business viability, irrespective of whether Barack Obama or John McCain becomes the President, as both support a close partnership with India.

Addressing industry representatives on 'Indo-US Economic Relations' here last night, Mr Kaplan said though US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deserve a lot of credit for putting the Indo-US strategic relationship on a solid footing, the relations between the two countries were primarily driven by independent actions of millions of Indian and US private citizens mainly on business and education fronts.

Mr Kaplan, who was here as part of the four-day official visit to Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur districts, said there were 83,000 Indian students studying in American universities and they accounted for the highest number from a single country.

Stating that more than 7,25,000 non-immigrant visas were issued in India last year and the number was likely to swell higher this year, Mr Kaplan said Indian companies were investing in the US in many areas, including steel, software, healthcare and textiles.

He, however, said stumbling at the Doha round of trade negotiations was a sign of persistent protectionist sentiments. ''We must resist such sentiments and instead push for additional freeing up of trade in goods and services in order to boost innovation and productivity, and to provide new opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty and build a better life.'' He said both the US and the Indian governments were working in conjunction with private businesses and organisations to expand agricultural and energy sectors in India in order to make farming more sustainable and productive and to develop cleaner forms of energy.

Investment in science and technology innovation had yielded promising results in tackling issues related to poverty and health, he added.

Earlier, Mr Kaplan, while delivering a talk on the US presidential elections at a private college here, said the US President was not directly elected by the people and instead by the Electoral College comprising the ''electors.'' Later, at an interacting session with the students, Mr Kaplan said the US strongly felt that India provided an excellent market for their products and was keen to utilise its services.

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