India May Take Up BPO Issue With Powell

New Delhi, March 15 | Updated: Mar 16 2004, 05:30am hrs
India is likely to express its concerns on the issue of outsourcing during the US secretary of state Colin Powells visit to the country. Mr Powell arrived in New Delhi on Monday night for a two-day visit.

New Delhi has conveyed to Washington that any linkages of a quid pro quo in outsourcing would not be acceptable to it. It also holds the view that outsourcing was a commercial activity and should not be seen as a bilateral and hence not bedevil ties between India and the United States.

According to officials, another issue which is likely to figure in the discussion is nuclear proliferation in Indias neighbourhood.

New Delhis concerns have been reinforced following the admission by Pakistans top nuclear scientist AQ Khan of illegally exporting sensitive technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

In contacts with the Bush administration, New Delhi has raised doubts whether the outward proliferation from Pakistan has really come to an end and also sought to know what assurances have been given that this will not happen again.

Steps to carry forward Indo-US strategic partnership, the recent initiatives to improve Indo-Pak relations, the ongoing fight against terrorism, and developments in Afghanistan and Iraq are expected to be covered during the talks.

Mr Powell will have a full agenda, officials said. The US secretary of state will be undertaking his fifth visit to India, the last being in July, 2002.

He will start his engagements on Tuesday with a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and then have wide-ranging discussions with external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, besides touching on regional and international issues of importance.

He will have meetings with finance minister Jaswant Singh and national security adviser Brajesh Mishra before calling on Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the evening.

He will visit Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he will meet President Pervez Musharraf and other leaders.