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US can't have the cake & eat it too: Advani

Ajay Singh in New Delhi | March 06, 2004 13:38 IST

US Ambassador David Mulford, used to advising countries on how they should manage their economies, got a dose of his own medicine when he went to meet Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

Advani is learnt to have conveyed to Mulford the Indian government's disappointment over the proposed US legislation banning outsourcing and to have emphasised that moves of this kind have the effect of curtailing the spirit of free enterprise that the US is so justly proud of.

"This (ban) is wrong as America is the biggest promoter of globalisation," Advani told Mulford when the ambassador called on him last evening. The two met for the first time.

Advani told the ambassador that the US move had only strengthened the hands of those in India who were opposed to globalisation, highly placed sources said.

Advani also said the proposed legislation lent credence to the belief that the US supported globalisation as long as its interests were not threatened.

The agenda for the discussion was set  during a meeting of Wipro Chairman Azim Premji with Advani that preceded the ambassador's meeting.

Knowing that the US ambassador was scheduled to call on Advani, Premji advised Advani to take up the outsourcing issue.

In the course of discussion, Advani also referred to the Vajpayee government's economic policies, which were consistent with the policies of liberalisation and globalisation adopted by the previous Congress regime.

Advani communicated the message that the National Democratic Alliance government fully endorsed  economic reform.

"You are new and you may not know that when we came to power, there was scepticism on whether to follow the previous government's economic model," Advani said.

When asked about his conversation with the US ambassador, Advani told Business Standard that he did raise the issue and tried to impress upon Mulford that the clamour in the US over outsourcing would not serve any purpose as it would be resisted by the private sector in America.

"Outsourcing is not the outcome of a government initiative," he said, adding that the US ambassador was appreciative of India's point of view.

Advani, it appears, was conscious of Premji's advice to refrain from discussing the issue publicly as was done by Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley.

"Premji was right when he said the issue should be discussed at the government level and not publicly,  in view of the US elections," Advani said. Premji apparently gave Jaitley the same advice when he met him later in the day.

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