PM to raise visa issue, outsourcing with Obama

PM to raise visa issue, outsourcing with Obama

New Delhi: India on Friday allayed fears among US firms that the nuclear liability law was against them as it prepared to raise its concerns over America’s recent decisions on outsourcing and visa rules besides export-control regime during President Barack Obama’s visit.

The growing Chinese assertiveness will also figure in the wide-ranging talks next month between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Obama when the two leaders would discuss ways to raise the level of their strategic partnership.

External affairs minister SM Krishna allayed fears in the US over the nuclear liability law, asserting that it would not affect interests of American companies but rather provide a level-playing field to firms from various countries.

The nuclear issue is expected to figure in discussions that Singh will have with Obama during his five-day visit to India from 6 November.

“The nuclear deal (between India and the US) was one of the biggest things that happened around which a number of issues are revolving," Krishna told a group of journalists.

He referred to fears among some US companies with regard to the nuclear liability law which was enacted by Parliament last month and provides for liability of supplier companies in the event of a nuclear accident in India.

Krishna said he had discussed this issue with secretary of state Hillary Clinton and assured the American side that the Nuclear Liability Bill was passed not keeping any particular country in mind, “much less the US".

He said the idea behind the bill was to provide a level-playing field and this is what has been conveyed to the US, as also France, Russia and others.

Any further apprehensions will be sorted out when things start moving, he said as he invited all the interested companies to participate in the sector, promising that all decisions would be taken on merit.

Talking about Obama’s visit and the expected agenda of talks, he said Indian IT companies have expressed reservations over recent US decisions on outsourcing and tightening of visa rules for Indians.

“Certainly, these issues will come up in discussions," Krishna said.

India is also expected to press for relaxation of US export control regime with regard to dual-use technology.

He, however, said the complementarities and commonalities between India and the US were “so decisive" that “different perceptions" on some issues would not affect the ties.

Asked whether growing Chinese assertiveness would also figure in the talks between Singh and Obama, Krishna said it would be one of the issues as China is “an important factor" in the global matters.

“We will exchange notes on China to see what is their (US) approach and what is our approach (on China)," he said.