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For Obama, India matters

November 10, 2008 18:54 IST

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President-elect Barack Obama [Images] considers India an 'important and strategic' country and his remarks should be taken as a 'warm' signal in New Delhi [Images], a US trade official said on Monday.

Naan still part of Washington menu

"The fact that Obama said it (relations with India) is very much a signal how the relations have been growing," US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Israel Hernandez told media persons in New Delhi.

On concerns of Indian industry over the stance of the new administration taking over on January 20 next year, Hernandez said their initial utterances should be 'gratifying' and be taken as a 'warm signal' even though it would be up to the new regime to elaborate on Obama's remarks.

Extending fiscal incentives to companies creating local jobs and discouraging outsourcing remained some of Obama's main election planks.

While Indian industry hailed his resounding victory, it remained cautious on the policy direction on outsourcing.

Infosys Technologies [Get Quote] Chairman N R Narayana Murthy had said: 'We believe Obama to be a pragmatic leader who understands that American industry needs to be competitive not just in America but in third world countries as well.'

India's software services exports (including IT and BPO) grossed over $40 billion in 2007-08 with over 60 per cent of the business coming from the US.

Earlier addressing a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in India, Hernandez said that bilateral India-US trade was about $42 billion last year.

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