US begins damage control exercise

US begins damage control exercise

Washington welcomes 'greater role' for New Delhi

The US on Tuesday endorsed India’s ambitions to play a larger role in global affairs, while New Delhi sought to play down the whistleblower website’s revelations and drive home the point that it had “a multi-faceted and forward looking strategic partnership” with Washington.

“The US welcomes a greater global leadership role for India and values its perspectives on how to meet common challenges, including countering terrorism, securing our maritime domains, and working together to promote democratic, political and economic development around the world,” said Timothy J Roemer, Washington’s envoy to New Delhi. 

The American Embassy in New Delhi issued Roemer’s statement after the WikiLeaks disclosures revealed that Clinton had referred to India as a “self-declared front runner” for a permanent seat on the UNSC.

New Delhi officially refrained from making any comment on the WikiLeaks’ revelations. “We would prefer not to comment on the issue of WikiLeaks, which purportedly are an account of privileged internal US government assessments and correspondence,” said the official spokesperson and Joint Secretary (External Publicity) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Vishnu Prakash.

He said India and the US had regular, open and candid dialogues on a number of matters of mutual interest. The WikiLeaks’ exposure came just three weeks after US President Barack Obama’s visit to Mumbai and New Delhi during which he backed India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC. The cable leaked by WikiLeaks was sent by Clinton to 33 US embassies around the world on July 31 last year, when Obama Administration’s policy towards India and its position on India’s UNSC aspirations were still evolving.

Sources in New Delhi said that India did not have to bother about the WikiLeaks’ exposure as the US President himself had publicly supported its bid for the UNSC permanent seat while addressing the Members of the Parliament here on November 8 last.

Roemer recalled that Obama during his recent visit to India had reiterated that the relationship between the US and India, bound by shared interests and shared values, would be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. “The President’s stay in India, the longest foreign trip of his Presidency to date, underscores the US commitment to a long-term strategic partnership with India,” he added.

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