India needs to lobby better on outsourcing: Bhagwati
Mumbai: Noted economist Jagdish Bhagwati Wednesday said the country should take the anti-offshoring bogey in the US seriously and lobby hard to counter its effects.
"We would be foolish to continue pretending that `this (anti-outsourcing tirade) does not matter', and it is simply a 'political patter'. With jobs a continuing issue, any time politicians in the US condemn outsourcing, we lose brownie points," he said.
"There is little doubt that Obama and the Democrats in general have never ceased their refrain against outsourcing from the outset of the first Obama term. Of course, outsourcing means not China, but India," the professor of economics and law at the Columbia University said, delivering the Exim Bank's annual day lecture here this evening.
There has been a lot of posturing on outsourcing by President Obama during his re-election campaign, but now India must tell the US administration that post-victory, they should stop the rhetoric and work for the benefit of the sector, Bhagwati said.
"There does not have to be confrontation...There is no excuse for him to keep spreading this poison," Bhagwati added.
Stating that the US political system functions through articulation and lobbying, he said New Delhi and the Indian industry must do better lobbying.
"We have to convey what we want and why because one of the things which I notice in America is that unless you say you want something, they don't pay attention. "It's a lobbying-led system."
Bhagwati cited a conversation with a New York mayor, who complained that Indians were not vocal about their demands, unlike other communities.
Indian policy efforts in US have met with some successes like the nuclear deal. But on many other issues including the outsourcing, they have not elicited results.
Bhagwati was unscathing in blaming the Indian diaspora, saying the community needed to go beyond their interest in mere "photo opportunities" and "darshan mentality" to achieve success in US.