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Chambers tells India Cisco's got another US$100 million to spend

Students and startups

By Richard Chirgwin

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Cisco and India continue their love-in, with The Borg announcing another US$100 million investment for the country over the next 18 months to two years.

Cisco already employs around 10,000 staff in India and in February the company talked up plans to set up a manufacturing base in Pune.

As part of the spend, announced last Friday, the company plans to train a quarter of a million students by 2020.

There's also $40 million for early-stage startups, the report states.

Cisco's statement says the announcement was “made in the presence” of executive chairman John Chambers along with execs Irving Tang (president of the Asia Pacific and Japan region) and Dinesh Malkani (president of the India and SAARC regions).

The initiatives also include six planned innovation laboratories, three centres of expertise (what disciplines the Borg has in mind isn't identified), and funded university collaborations.

India's Economic Times reports Chambers said the country's economy is burgeoning “because of the digital economy”.

The conference to announce the investment gave the local press the chance to quiz Chambers about the ongoing visa spat between India and the USA.

India has gone to the World Trade Organisation to complain about America's newly-doubled fees on H-1B visas, which India's IT sector uses heavily to bring workers to America.

Chambers has previously said the tech sector in America has failed to explain to the public why H-1B visas are a good thing, leading to a perception that they're being abused to suppress local wages.

To the Indian audience, he was conciliatory, blaming the “emotional” environment of an election campaign for the December change to the visa rules – especially in the context of the US economy, in which the middle class “has not seen economic appreciation for the last 15 years”.

He said taking the issue to the WTO was a “logical” move for India. ®

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