On the raw nerve that is the outsourcing issue, President Barack Obama had struck a different chord on Monday. And Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was unusually firm when he said India was not in the business of stealing American jobs.
Addressing a joint press conference with the PM, Obama’s statement on the issue was not ridden with the earlier concerns he has expressed over American jobs shifting from Buffalo to Bangalore.
“I don’t think you heard me make outsourcing a bogeyman during the course of my visit,” the US president said, fielding a question on why India was being targeted when jobs were actually lost to China in the manufacturing sector.
“In fact, I expressly said during my visit to Mumbai, at the business council, that both countries (India and the US), I think, were operating on some stereotypes that’ve outlived their usefulness,” Obama said.
He said, “in every discussion that I have had with Indian businesses what I have seen is that our countries are matched up in a way that allows us enormous win-win potential,” he said.
Obama had said in Mumbai that while Americans had faced problems with globalisation resulting in shut factories, there existed a caricature of India as a land of call centres and back-offices that cost US jobs.
“Whenever I’m asked about Indians taking away our jobs, I want to say: You know what, they’ve just created 50,000 jobs,” he said, referring to Indo-US commercial deals worth $15 billion announced on Saturday that were expected to create 54,000 jobs in the US.
Manmohan Singh, in his remarks to the same question, said outsourcing of work to India had helped US companies become more competitive, besides helping increase their productivity and capacity. “As far as India is concerned, India is not in the business of stealing jobs from the US. Outsourcing industry, I believe, has helped to improve the productive capacity and productivity of American industries,” Singh said.