In a significant development for lately troubled India-US relations, five past US ambassadors to India on Wednesday sought a fair deal for Indian companies on immigration.
But their call - contained in a letter to congressional leaders Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi - goes beyond the immigration issue.
It was the first show of support for India in last many months dominated by calls to press New Delhi to speed up reforms and correct allegedly discriminatory business practices.
And it gave India a much needed respite days before Prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit later this month to meet president Barack Obama before the United Nations general assembly.
“We are concerned that the high-skilled visa provisions in legislation currently contemplated by the Senate are not in US economic interests and they complicate our relations with India,” said the ambassadors - Thomas R Pickering, Frank G Wisner, Richard Celeste, David C Mulford and Robert Blackwill - in the letter.
“We welcome this timely and relevant initiative,” said Indian embassy in a statement, adding, “The concerns highlighted by the experienced and knowledgeable former Ambassadors to India are widely shared by India and the Indian IT industry.”
The senate passed an immigration bill in June that would make it difficult for H-1B dependent firms - such as Infosys and TCS - to continue hiring cheap foreign workers.