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BPO ban: India piles pressure on US

India is working on a strategy to pressure US through American firms.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2004 12:31 IST

Close on the heels of the first US Federal law against outsourcing, India is pulling out all stops to safeguard its software beneficiaries by working on a strategy that aims to pressure the US through American companies.

Alongside, the Foreign Office has unleashed a diplomatic offensive, lodging a formal protest with the US government. The US Embassy in New Delhi has been told that the law was discriminatory, highly placed sources said.

The Indian Embassy in Washington, too, has raised the issue with the state department. External affairs minister Yashwant Sinha had earlier raised the outsourcing issue with US officials during his Washington trip. The Indian strategy to offset any damage to the booming business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is to make use of American companies on Indian soil to pile pressure on the US.

"We have spoken to some US companies and they agree that it is in their own interest to outsource work to India. The biggest pressure will come from them," a source said. The targets include giants like the GE, American Express and Hewlett Packard who outsource to India.

Sources said the Foreign Office would work in tandem with the commerce ministry, besides the Indian industry. CEOs of Indian companies will speak to their counterparts in the United States.

Sources said the day the US senate passed the anti-BPO law, disinvestment minister Arun Shourie, who was representing India at the World Economic Forum in Davos, spoke out against the ban. Shourie garnered support from US CEOs who outsource to India. The impact was instant.

"Narayanamurthy of Infosys and Aziz Premji of Wipro are in touch with some CEOs of US companies," a government source added.

First Published: Jan 27, 2004 12:31 IST