NEW DELHI — Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, encountering the other side of a tempestuous debate in the United States, sought to assure Indians on Tuesday that the Bush administration would not try to halt the "outsourcing" of high-technology jobs to their country.

In a round of conversations with Indian leaders and college students, Powell found that the issue of the transfer of American jobs to India, known as outsourcing, by leading technology companies — was as emotional in India as in the United States.

But whereas American politicians have deplored the loss of such jobs, it was clear that the anxiety in India focuses on threats by some in Congress to try to stop the transfer by legislation.

"Do you support outsourcing or are you against it?" a questioner asked Powell in the session with students.

"Outsourcing is a natural effect of the global economic system and the rise of the Internet and broadband communications," Powell said. "You're not going to eliminate outsourcing. But at the same time, when you outsource jobs it becomes a political issue in anybody's country."

The secretary told the students what he had said to reporters earlier in the day after a meeting with Foreign Minister Yaswant Sinha — namely, that an appropriate American response to outsourcing was to press India and other countries to open up to imports of American investments, goods and services.

Powell said one purpose of his trip was to explain that, because outsourcing had created a political problem in the United States, India could help by lowering its trade barriers.

The secretary emphasized that he was making this request, not as a condition for the United States allowing outsourcing to continue, but because it was in India's interest to be more open.

The White House endorsed Powell's comments.

"The secretary made clear in his remarks that we are concerned when Americans lose jobs, and we are focused on creating jobs for American workers, and the best way to do that is to open markets around the world, including in India," said Claire Buchan, a spokeswoman for the White House. "He also talked about the importance of training workers for the opportunities of the future."