#February 2017, #The Americas, #India-US, #December 2017

There are not too many countries towards whom the new United States President, Donald Trump, has shown a consistently friendly demeanour. India is one of them.

As Trump told Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his most recent phone conversation to New Delhi, he saw India as a “true friend”. India is seen, strategically, as a kindred spirit by President Trump and his team.

#October 2017, #Last Word

India takes a tough stand on the Trump administration’s visa crackdown.

It’s two steps forward and one step back – once again. We’re talking of Indo-US relations here and the rollercoaster it has been riding on since Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House.

The latest irritant to mark the otherwise warm relationship between the two countries is the tightening of rules for issuing H1B and L1 visas. A new directive issued by the Trump administration recently made it more difficult for such visa holders to apply for renewal by transferring the burden of proof on the applicant when an extension is sought.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in jobs that need expertise that is not easily and readily available in the US. US technology companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Facebook, Google and others hire thousands of foreign professionals every year on this visa.

Indian IT professionals are the biggest recipients and the country’s tech industry is the major beneficiary of these two visa categories. The US accounts for 60 per cent of the Indian IT sector’s annual revenues of about $150 billion. That is why a smooth US visa regime is vitally important for its health.

The US move is in keeping with Donald Trump’s election promise to protect American workers from being replaced by cheaper foreign professionals.

Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has said he will take up the issue of H1B and L1 visas “very strongly” with the US administration and added that US companies and, indeed, the US economy, which benefited immensely from the services of Indian H1B and L1 visa holders, will find it difficult to cope without them.

“We explained to them that we are not raising this issue because Indians will find it difficult to come, because the US economy itself will find it difficult to cope with the reality because the US has immensely benefited by IT professionals penetrating into the market by offering services that has improved their productivity,” he said.

Prabhu has a very strong case. Contrary to popular perception, India’s information technology companies are net job creators in the US and add tremendous value to the US economy.

A report by Nasscom, released in 2015, pointed out that the much-maligned Indian IT sector supported more than 400,000 jobs in the US and contributed more than $20 billion in federal taxes over the previous five years.
Another study by the Brookings Institute has also belied the myth that cheaper Indian professionals are snatching jobs from qualified Americans in the US. The study points out that most Indian workers on H1B visas generally earn more than comparable US workers with similar educational qualifications.

Indian tech companies create and protect jobs in the US in the following ways:

  • They provide US businesses with advanced IT services and support, which help US companies maintain their global competitiveness, enter new markets, gain market share and remain profitable
  • Indian companies such Wipro, Infosys, TCS have invested billions of dollars in setting up facilities in the US and created thousands of direct jobs there
  • Indian companies directly employ about 100,000 US citizens and support jobs for three times as many Americans
  • Over the last four years, job creation by India’s information technology companies in the US grew 10 per cent annually, compared to a 1.7 per cent overall job growth in that country.

But rational arguments often get drowned out in the din of political rhetoric. And that is precisely what is happening. Even as the Indian government takes up the issue with the US administration, the visa imbroglio should serve as a wake-up call to India and its IT sector.

Worryingly, a substantial portion of its revenues still come from relatively lower end work, which give steady margins, but which can no longer generate high levels of growth. And despite their best efforts, these companies have failed to move up the software services value chain.

It may also be time for the Indian IT sector to set its own house in order and secure its future.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

#June 2017, #Last Word

The Indian PM’s visit to Washington will be crucial to determine how much the US President is in a mood to listen.

The Indian political leadership has, since Independence, rooted for a multi-polar world. Now, with Donald Trump’s US voluntarily pulling back from its role as world’s peace keeper of last resort, India is close to being granted its 70-year-old wish.

#April 2017, #Last Word

India has a major stake in the political tremors around the world.

Any fault line is worrying. Even more so is the fact that we seem to be living in a world criss-crossed by such fissures, some overlapping and others not so. Any one of the them could set off tremors or even earthquakes of proportions unprecedented since the end of the Second World War.

#February 2017, #Putting it in context

Donald Trump and his fellow travellers in Europe are doing their countries a disservice by recklessly pulling up the drawbridge on immigration.

Everyone knows that whenever their fortresses and castles came under siege, kings of old would pass the order to pull up the drawbridges and every able man would take up position to repel the invaders. And most of you will be familiar with the story of Don Quixote, the fictional medieval Spanish nobleman, who attacked windmills under the delusion that they were dangerous enemies.

Combine these two narratives and you get a very disturbing picture of the present and the future.

#February 2017, #Sector Focus/Pharma

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a consistent presence on definitive global lists as one of the world’s most powerful women. As the Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited, she is a trendsetter in the field of biotechnology in India. Here she takes time out for ‘India Global Business’ to give us an insight into her entrepreneurial drive and India’s own biotech journey.

#February 2017, #The Americas

Just days after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th US President, there is much upheaval around his series of unilateral executive orders. There is yet another draft reportedly awaiting his signature, which could hit Indian professionals hard.

American billionaire Donald J. Trump marked his first days in the Oval Office in characteristic style by signing some of the most controversial executive orders in history.

The suspension of the US refugee programme for 120 days and a cap on 2017 numbers came alongside a ban on anyone arriving from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The instant effect was felt at airports in the US and around the world, as people were stopped from boarding US-bound flights or held when they landed in the US.

#February 2017, #Global Indian

Pankaj Lal was among a handful of scientists to be honoured by outgoing US President Barack Obama with the Presidential Award. ‘India Global Business’ caught up with him to trace what led to this prestigious achievement and what being a Global Indian means to him.

What does an honour like the Presidential Award mean to you?

I am honoured and excited to receive this prestigious award. It’s always exciting for your peers to see the significant value in our work and for federal agencies to invest resources for this. This said, sharing the success with family, friends and students is the greatest reward.



Harnessing science for social good and developing sustainable energy and managing natural resources well are some of the grand challenges facing modern society, and I feel satisfied that that our work is contributing a bit towards improved understanding of this area. This award is a testament that hard work will be rewarded at the opportune moment, and will continue to keep me striving for more in the future.

#February 2017, #Sector Focus/Pharma

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is holding on to a sliver of hope that it could become the supplier of choice for the US market.

Indian IT sector CEOs aren’t the only ones weighing every word uttered by US President Donald Trump for nuances and burning the midnight oil wondering how to maintain their lead in their largest market.