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Down to business

President Bush?s visit to India has left Pokhran II and its resultant sanctions and bitterness a distant memory.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 01:01 IST

President Bush’s visit to India has left Pokhran II and its resultant sanctions and bitterness a distant memory. The cornerstone of the new paradigm is that India and the US want to do business with one another. For the US, India has been an untapped marketplace. The landmark nuclear fuel deal may clear the political roadblocks, but there are other issues that need to be sorted out. India wants US investment and technology, a market for its export in goods and services, as well as a removal of the cap on H1B visas. The finicky Americans have a longer list: they want financial sector reforms; they want the insurance, banking and pension sectors to be thrown open; they want expeditious labour reforms; and they want FDI in the retail sector.

In 2002 and 2005, US exports to India increased from about $ 4 billion to around $ 8 billion annually. ‘Bangalored’ may be a dirty word in the US, but the sourcing game has just begun. The next wave could be auto components, textiles, leather and what have you. More and more American companies are queuing up to take advantage of the skill sets that Indian manpower represents. Gurgaon, on the outskirts of the capital, has well and truly become the MNC capital of the land with the biggest American tech giants dotting its skyline.

Just what can be achieved is evident from the doubling of US exports to India in the last three years, mainly in the hi-tech area. With the nuclear deal, and accompanying technology restrictions lifted, we could be in a new era of cooperation in the hi-tech sector, including nuclear energy.