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US ambassador to India resigns
NEW DELHI, Apr 28 (Agencies):
Published on 28 Apr. 2011 10:51 PM IST
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US ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer, has resigned his post stating that he had accomplished all of the strategic objectives set two years ago.
His resignation comes only a day after India informed US companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin that their fighter aircraft were no longer in contention for the $11bn Indian Air Force medium range, multi-role, combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender.
Roemer, who was nominated by US president Barack Obama in May 2009, is expected to leave by June.
"Ambassador Roemer's departure is for personal, professional and family considerations," the US embassy said in a statement here.
The timing of his departure is a bit unfortunate for two reasons, as it comes after what many perceive is a hard blow landed on the Americans in the MMRCA deal as much political capital had been invested in the outcome with president Barack Obama and his administration canvassing for the deal in a not-so-subtle manner.
There was much riding on the deal by way of jobs and contracts at home and also a much-hyped, though very uneasy, 'strategic relationship', between India and the United States tied to the outcome.
The second reason why the timing could have been better is that ambassador Roemer gave no inkling that he would like to leave his current assignment at the expiry of the two year period. For this reason alone, his sudden departure may invite a stock-taking exercise about the achievements or failures of American diplomacy in Delhi in his time.
The fact of the matter is that at the end of two years droves of Obama administration incumbents have left for other assignments and Roemer's departure is not extraordinary in any way.
It certainly should not be linked to the failed MMRCA initiative or the general negativity that envelopes perceptions about the current UPA government's relationship with the Americans.
54-year-old Roemer was a political appointee in what was considered to be a key diplomatic assignment. Though a political appointee, Roemer obviously had more academic and administrative credentials than fellow political nominees, who, in line with American practice, were mainly money-bags who had raised money for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Indian officials were apprehensive about Roemer’s appointment given his background as a non-proliferation mandarin. But the complexities of operating in India are always an eye-opener for any incumbent and ambassador Roemer certainly showed no inclination to pursue a NPT or any other hawkish, disruptive agenda in the course of his tenure.
Indeed, a very cosy relationship blossomed between the Obama administration and Delhi and ambassador Roemer would have certainly basked in the glory. For Roemer, president Obama’s trip to India would have been the high point.
Though kept out of the ambit of the Af-Pak initiative, thanks to Delhi’s reluctance to be identified with any such over-arching initiative, the American ambassador remained a key interlocutor in the goings –on in the region.
Indeed, in ambassador Roemer’s case he may even have had a golden phase in the recent past, when for all effective purposes he became the numero uno figure in the region co-ordinating policy moves. But with Marc Grossman’s arrival as special envoy in the place of Richard Holbrooke, hierarchies will automatically reassert themselves.
Ambassador Roemer says he wants to go back home to look after his family.
“When I accepted the job two years ago, I told President Barack Obama that I will serve for two years, but that family considerations would be the front and centre after that,” Roemer said. Roemer said that the US-India relationship is on a “positive historic trajectory” towards a global partnership.
“The horizons of our relationship truly no limits,” he said.
“The US-India relationship -- what my friend President Obama calls the defining partnership of the 21st century - has progressed to the global stage. I am very proud to have led the team responsible for deepening and broadening the strategic partnership of this critical bilateral relationship, which is one of the cornerstones of our foreign policy.
“The US India relationship is on a positive historic trajectory towards a global partnership that is changing the way our two nations create economic opportunity for our citizens, educating the leaders of tomorrow, and ensuring safe and secure communities,” he said.

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