#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

#August 2017, #The Americas

Donald Trump’s ambivalence on economic and strategic issues concerning India is coming in the way of taking bilateral ties to the next level.

If India and the US were Facebook friends, then many in the Indian establishment would be justified in describing the relationship as “It’s complicated.”



India is a “major defence ally” of the US, the economic relationship is vibrant, at least on the face of it, Washington has reiterated its support for India to be admitted into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) as a full member and public statements by senior government officials on both sides continue to exude warmth.

#April 2017, #Sector Focus/IT

Automation in the global IT industry threatens to disrupt the sector in -India but it may be a blessing in heavy disguise. For the stagnant industry, robots may pave the way for the next round of growth.

On March 19, news reports suggested Cognizant, the New-Jersey headquartered software services firm may fire between 6,000-10,000 workers in its bid to reduce redundant and non-performing workers. As the news spread and doomsday predictions started ringing, the firm’s spokesperson sought to cool frayed nerves stating this was part of the company’s annual appraisal process when the bad apples are weeded out.

#April 2017, #Special Edition – May 2017, #The Americas, #THE AMERICAS

As the Donald Trump administration begins to deliver on his poll promise of cracking down on the alleged misuse of H1B visas, Indian IT companies are feeling the pinch.

Donald Trump’s election rhetoric is returning to bite the Indian IT sector as policy formulations of the new US administration.

First, here are some updates on the bad news on H1B visas, the visa category mainly used by Indian IT companies to ship Indian IT professionals to the US.

#April 2017, #Special Edition – May 2017, #The Americas, #THE AMERICAS

The chief of one of India’s leading trade bodies, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), traces some of the lesser known facts behind India’s positive impact on the US economy in this ‘India Global Business’ exclusive.

Over the past two decades, the bilateral partnership between India and the United States had grown in leaps and bounds. Looking back at the trajectory of the relationship, we have truly come a long way – from the cloud of suspicion that hung after India conducted its nuclear tests in the 1990s to the landmark US-India civil nuclear agreement in 2006 – which helped spur sustained engagements at the very highest levels – till today and the establishment of an array of official dialogues encompassing all aspects of our bilateral relationship.

#April 2017, #Sector Focus/IT

Cyber Security is the protection of information assets, which are highly valuable to an organisation, writes a security expert.



In the early days of the internet, Cyber Security wasn’t of importance since most computers linked to the internet were part of academia, where trust played a major role. In addition, traditional networking wasn’t secure by design, and did not encompass elements of security.

As the internet grew, organisations started realising the efficiency and productivity the internet brought, and applications and software were developed. The vast repository of information, and ability to cause damage sitting anywhere in the world, led to a proliferation in the number of cyber attacks.

#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, #Go Global

India Inc. has envisioned its first-ever Go Global Expo & Conference 2017 as a hub for Indian companies on a decisive global expansion march as well as new start-ups ready for the leap. Here ‘India Global Business’ delves into the high-profile launch of the event in New Delhi.

There was a time barely two centuries ago, when India accounted for 21 per cent of global trade and Great Britain barely 1 per cent. At the height of the British Empire, this relative ratio had been turned on its head, with the United Kingdom as the most dominant trading nation in the world with more than a one-fifth share of world trade and India reduced to a peripheral player with only a 1 per cent share.

#2016, #India-US, #Yearend 2016

India will do well to take the initiative in correcting the anomalous situation of Indo-US B2B relations and take some immediate steps to project itself as a willing and receptive partner for a Trump presidency, writes a foreign policy expert.

Donald Trump, the first billionaire, to have been elected POTUS, defied all pollsters’ forecasts and cleavages in the Republican party by striking a chord with US voters anxious about their future in a rapidly changing world.

#2016, #India-US, #Yearend 2016

India will adopt a wait and watch policy on the new US President-elect until there is greater clarity on issues of importance.

The world is still trying to come with a Donald Trump presidency in the US. Pick up any newspaper or switch on any current affairs channel anywhere in the world and the hot topic is what the chief executive-elect of the world’s most powerful country means for (depending on which city you are in) the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Climate Pact, ties with Russia, the war in Syria, the Pivot to the East, immigration and outsourcing.