Obama says India-US ties anchor to Asia approach

The statement cane in a White House reaction to the resignation of US ambassador to India,Timothy Roemer a day after New Delhi's rejection of the US bid to supply a new generation of fighter jets to India in $10 billion deal.

"Over the last two years during Ambassador Roemer's tenure, President Obama has made the expansion of the US-India strategic partnership a major priority, declaring the US-India relationship an 'indispensible partnership' for the 21st century," Press Secretary Jay Carney said without any reference to the fighter deal.

Obama "has great respect for the Indian people, a close partnership with Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh, and views this relationship as an anchor to our approach in Asia and the promise of the 21st century," he said.

"The United States is committed to deepening our cooperation, and partnering on a bilateral, regional, and global level to address the major challenges of the coming decades together," Carney said.

The US, he said, "will continue to pursue top priorities with India, such as balanced economic growth, counter-terrorism, global security and stability, education, agriculture, trade and investment, and the advance of democratic values."

"Our commitment to addressing these challenges together demonstrates the growing strength and purpose of our strategic partnership," Carney said.

Meanwhile, Politico, a Washington newspaper focusing on presidential politics, suggested that Roemer, an Obama political nominee, was resigning his India post to lend a hand to Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Citing an interview of Roemer, Politico noted how the former Indiana congressman had "got on board early" to campaign for Obama in 2007 and 2008. He had also suggested he would be open to doing more campaign work when he returns to the United States.

"If the president were to ask me to help in some way, that is certainly something ... as my friend ... well, he is not only my president, he is a friend of mine, and somebody I deeply respect," he was quoted as saying.

"I think he has done a very good job in extremely difficult circumstances," Roemer said of Obama.

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