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US Government Shutdown Surprises India

  • Aru Pande

News of the U.S. government shutdown is being met with surprise and concern in one of Asia's largest economies. A sampling of people in the Indian capital, New Delhi, suggests there are worries the partial closure of the federal government will have ramifications across the globe.

At this New Delhi coffee shop, college students pepper this reporter with questions about how such an impasse could happen in a country like the United States.

“It’s actually very surprising that the number one superpower as we know the U.S. is shutting down," said Meher Rana, a first-year stuident at Jesus and Mary College in New Delhi. "It’s very surprising.”

Rana is worried the effects will be felt as far away as India and will hit particularly close to home.

“Everybody expects the U.S. to be the dominant market," she said. "Even my father, he is an exporter and he has been working with North America and parts of South America for a really long time. And the economy is really going down, the government is shut, so it’s going to affect him and we are all really shocked.”

Across town at a conference aimed at supporting Indian small companies, business manager Hashim Baqai, who is used to such political wrangling in his own country, shakes his head in disbelief.

“As we know, the U.S. is such a developed country compared to India and it is really difficult to understand how it happened there," Baqai said.

Business leaders here are wary of the global economic impact of a U.S. government shutdown, as India is already struggling with slow economic growth and a falling rupee.

That issue is very much on the mind of Rajeev Khatri, a general manager at Sietz Technologies India, a manufacturer of tractor parts.

“We are worried about the economy now," Khatri said. "The Indian economy is in bad shape as it is. Let’s see what happens now.”

Many here in India hope the political deadlock in the United States will be brief, keenly aware that the negative impact on the American economy may also be felt across the globe.

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