My answer on Quora:
Thanks you for the A2A.
Research importance in your residency application depends on when are you applying for it – after medical graduation ie MBBS or after post graduation in home country. In the former it does not play a big role but in later it does.
Research in home country play a negligible importance unless you get it published it as a co-author or contributor in a journal.
Clinical Research elective will help in fetching you good USA-LOR along with contacts for interview recommendation.
Thus, if you are doing MBBS try getting clinical elective > clinical research electives in USA Hospitals and good LOR. Study non-stop for your USMLE and you will succeed. US hospital program directors are aware that research is not a big part of Indian medical school and thus not much expectations in that front.
If however you are candidate after post graduation in home country, try getting your posters or research paper published in major journal as its a big star in CV.
Hope that helped in clearing your doubt. Let me know if you have any further.