H-1B row: Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal wonders if US tastes its own medicine on visa curb

30 April 2017, 11:25 PM
Telecom supremo Sunil Bharti Mittal (Source: PTI)
Telecom supremo Sunil Bharti Mittal (Source: PTI)

As Trump administration takes a protectionist stance, telecom supremo Sunil Bharti Mittal asked if India should say no to Facebook and Google just because it has similar homegrown apps.

As his business is "rooted in the domestic market", Mittal is not excessively concerned about protectionism, but he finds the curtailment of movement of Indian workers unfair, as foreign firms make huge profits in India.

"If you come to a situation where skilled workers which actually drive your economy back home are going to be denied (entry) or Indian companies are forced to pay a particular salary just to become uncompetitive in those countries, I think that becomes an affirmative action against the companies that want to do trade there", he said.

Read more: Indian teacher fined, sentenced for H-1B visa fraud in US

He was responding to a question on how he would react if Bharti Airtel was not allowed to operate in certain geographies.

Citing examples of tech firms like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp that have millions of users in India, Bharti Airtel Chairman said, "You can't have (a situation) that on one hand and you have 200 million customers on Facebook, 150 million on WhatsApp, 100 million people on Google... Would we say we don't want FaceBook (and) Google to operate in India, we have homegrown apps".

Mittal said India is a vast market for technology companies given the huge consumer base. Over the past few weeks, countries like the US, Singapore and Australia have taken steps to tighten their work visa norms.

Read more: H-1B visa concerns: Any 'serious actions' taken by Trump Administration would 'worry' India, says Chief Economic Advisor

This could potentially impact the operating costs for Indian IT companies that send employees to work on client sites using visas.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Sunday, April 30, 2017 10:29 PM

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