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India will gain nearly US$6 billion in information technology (IT) investment over the next few years, from three US companies — Microsoft, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

The announcements, made last week, drew fire from critics who claim IT is drawing the country’s scientific talent away from other areas of research.

Microsoft is to double its Indian workforce to 7,000 and increase research and development investment by US$1.7 billion, while Intel is putting in US$1 billion, and AMD US$3 billion.

According to the New Delhi-based National Association of Software and Service Companies, India is attracting this level of foreign investment because of low labour costs, a well-educated, English-speaking workforce, and its location in a convenient time zone.

But some Indian leaders are accusing the boom of luring talent away from universities. IT entrants are tempted with salaries three times higher than those for entry-level scientists.

Others see this attitude as envy, and claim that such battles for talent, if they lead to a stronger economy, will benefit both commercial and basic research.

Link to full article in Science