by Beth Bacheldor

Is “Game” To Be Called in India Vs. USA Outsourcing Match?

Sep 15, 2010
Enterprise Applications

U.S. CTO Chopra attempts to allay concerns Indians have about the United States’ sentiment toward offshoring.

The Economic Times (as part of the India Times) and others are reporting that U.S. officials want to hear India’s concerns on the United States’ sentiment and actions toward offshoring. Apparently, U.S. White House CTO Aneesh Chopra spoke recently at a seminar at an Indo-US Innovation Exchange Forum in New Delhi and told attendees:

“We will surely listen, if there are any concerns. But my sense is that companies in both the countries are happy (with the current environment). Leaving aside what is there in the media, there is a strong relationship between both the countries. And we want to grow it further,” Chopra reportedly said.

The article (you can read it here) says Chopra is specifically referring to a recent order by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to ban the state’s public funds from being spent on services provided offshore (you can see that executive order here). I’ll have more to say about that in another blog…

But back to the issue at hand, particularly about Chopra addressing Indian businesses and attempting to allay their fears about growing protectionism. I get India’s concern (after all, there’s Ohio’s blogs, President Obama’s comments on outsourcing and offshoring, and the changes in Visa fees as part of the new border security appropriations act). And I get that the United States, and particularly the citizens of the United States, are deeply concerned about unemployment, an unyielding economy that has run roughshod over everyone and everything for a long time now, and the fact that so much of our industry has been pushed abroad. It does seem like we are becoming a nation of buyers rather than producers.

But I do hear, and agree with, Chopra’s words. In other articles detailing his remarks, Chopra talks about how the U.S. economy is market-driven and market-based, and that state governments’ use of IT services make up only a small part of the overall outsourcing needs of the U.S. Chopra also told attendees that the ties between India and the United States are growing, and that the two countries’ governments are working to create an ecosystem where companies in both can thrive together.

Indeed, back in June President Obama announced plans to travel to India in November to strengthen ties between the two countries. In this Wall Street Journal article, the President reportedly said America’s relationship with India is “unprecedented” and that the partnership will help shape the future of the world on issues such as the economy and security. The president’s remarks followed those of Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, who was visiting with an Indian delegation as part of the United States-India Strategic Dialogue.

With that kind of talk, I find it unlikely that the U.S. government is interested in undermining business ties with Indian outsourcing companies. But then again, all’s fair in love and politics.