‘India reassured about stronger relationship under Obama’

November 15th, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 15 (IANS) US President-elect Barack Obama’s India policy is unlikely to be much different from that of President George Bush, according to Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.Ahluwalia, who is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ’sherpa’ at the G20 Summit, told reporters Friday that he was reassured about stronger India-US relationship under the next administration by his meeting with a bipartisan team of Obama nominees to the summit.

“In their view the change in relationship with India began during the (Democratic) Clinton administration, grew stronger through Bush and would basically continue under Obama,” he said.

Ahluwalia, accompanied by the Indian Ambassador to the US Ronen Sen, met former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Albright and Republican Congressman Jim Leach, who have been nominated by Obama to interact with foreign delegations at the summit.

Asked if he had conveyed New Delhi’s concerns over Obama’s views about outsourcing as a large number of jobs are outsourced to India, he said: “An elementary point is that you should not judge an administration on the basis of an election campaign.”

“Right thing to do would be to wait,” Ahluwalia said, adding India would make its views known when a bilateral opportunity arises after Obama takes over Jan 20.

He said they had briefed the Obama team about the summit. “We did not ascertain what their policy would be. But I don’t think there is going to be a difference between the Bush and Obama policy” on the financial crisis.

In reply to another question whether the summit called by a lame duck President George Bush did not face a credibility problem, he said: “It is clearly going to be on everyone’s mind, but there is also a perception that an outgoing administration historically keeps close coordination with an incoming one.”

He was not privy to any understanding between the Bush administration and the Obama transition team, but the perception is that any agreements, particularly international agreements, would be based on adequate consultations with the Obama team.

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