Dr Santishree DNB Pandit
Ambassador Nancy Powell, who resigned on Monday, as the US Ambassador to India, is considered a light weight in Washington's diplomatic circles who failed to give push to bilateral ties, economic as well as political that suffered a major jolt following the arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade. As well as her failing to comprehend the rise of Narendra Modi and not maintaining relations across the political spectrum, which is a liability. The dichotomous view of Western diplomats is very simplistic. Her failure to understand and comprehend the complexities of Indian culture and politics cost her job. She was unable to engage across the political spectrum. She downslided a strategic relationship that was carefully built by Talbott and Jaswant Singh and continued by President Bush and Secretary of State Rice with PM Manmohan Singh. She was unable to maintan the momentum and allowed it to get worse than the Cold war era, a return to the Nixon era. She broke the myth that Democratic Presidents are more friendly to India. Poor President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, paid for the Indian retaliation against the arrest of their diplomat. Now they have to send a India- watcher , a person who understands India, her people and her culture. President Kennedy sent the great economist John Galbraith and President Johnson Daniel P Monyihan. What a fall!
The United States sees India as a natural ally on a range of issues and a potential counterbalance to China in Asia. In 2010, President Barack Obama declared that the U.S.-Indian relationship would be “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” She did not live up to the expectations defined by her own administration.
(The writer is a Professor of International Politics at University of Pune)