Wrong to replace US workers with H-1B professionals: John Chambers

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Cisco Executive Chairman John Chambers says it was wrong to replace American workers by bring in software professionals from abroad, cautioning “we have to be careful not to misstep” when it comes to H-1B visa.

“You cannot go in and take a whole bunch of H1-B visas and displace American workers because you can do it at lower costs. That was just a mistake. We have to focus on investment,” Chambers told a group of journalists at a roundable here.

Indian tech giants like Infosys and Wipro have recently decided to ramp up hiring local talent in America after President Donald Trump asked tech companies to manufacture and hire more in the US.

Chambers, however, said Cisco was committed to invest and hire more in India as well as in the US to help enhance the strategic partnership between the two nations.

“India is a great, great market to invest. It has well-educated resources and that makes it easy for companies to do business and manufacture here. The progress has been good but we have to move faster,” Chambers said in response to question by IANS during a select roundtable here.

“Same is with the US. It is a win-win situation for both countries. Our two countries working together can benefit nearly 303 million people in the US and nearly 1.3 billion people here. We can grow much faster together as we have common goals,” Chambers added.

In India, Cisco — which began operations in the country in 1995 — saw profits grow 340 per cent in the 2016 financial year on the back of Smart City initiatives and its partnership with Reliance Jio.

Cisco employs almost 12,000 people across its various centres in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Gurugram.

“If Cisco grows in India, it grows in the US too,” Chambers said.

In November last year, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins had said that the networking giant is engaged with state governments at various levels to digitally transform 14 cities with the help from its partners and “wished to take this number to 100 in the next five-seven years.

To further deepen business ties between India and the US, a new representative body called the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is being set up and Chambers is on its board of directors.

According to Chambers, the USISPF would help build stronger and meaningful business relations between the two countries.

“What you see now is a potential of strategic partnership between two countries to be the model for the rest of the world,” the Cisco Executive Chairman said.

“It’s mission is to see how to get an economic growth, startup growth, and get innovation, entrepreneurism and benefit of society,” he added.

USISPF will work closely together with businesses and government leaders to achieve the goal of driving economic growth, job creation, innovation, inclusion and entrepreneurship.

Chambers said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meetings with the US President Donald Trump in June was successful.

“I am a huge believer in your country and your Prime Minister. India has grown faster than any other country in the last three years and is now known as one of the leading innovators,” Chambers said.

“Our two countries will be able to make great strides in the months to come and USISPF is honoured to be a part of this exciting future,” he added.



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