US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer resigns

 Ex-US ambassador to India Timothy RoemerNew Delhi: 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.