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'US no longer sees India through prism of Pak'
February 24, 2009 17:12 IST
The US no longer looks at India through the "prism" of Pakistan, according to outgoing US Ambassador [Images] to India David Mulford, who describes "de-hyphenating of India-Pakistan obsession" as a major accomplishment of his four-year tenure.
"One of the accomplishments has been to de-hyphenate the India-Pak obsession that was present when I got here. We set out to do that," he told PTI in an interview, his last as the American envoy in India.
He sought to dispel apprehensions that the Barack Obama [Images] administration may not be as "warm" towards India as the previous Bush government, saying the new dispensation in Washington realises India's importance and would be "extending" the bilateral relationship that has seen tremendous growth over the last five years.
"The Obama administration shares the view that India is very important country to the US. There is very high regard for India and Indians living in the US. I think the Obama administration is fully aware of this and will seek to extend the relationship. I don't think there is any doubt about it," the outgoing envoy said.
The comments assume significance since there have been apprehensions that the Obama administration would not be as warm and friendly to India as the Bush regime, which went all out to firm up the civil nuclear deal and expanded ties in other areas.
Mulford emphasised that US-India relations should be about India and the US and India's vision for future without having to be "obsessed with every single issue to be looked from the prism of Pakistan and vice versa. That would hold India back from realising its vision."
As he looked back, he identified 2003 as the year that marked "beginning of new phase of relationship that moved forward" and now covers all aspects. Mulford, whose tenure saw significant growth in Indo-US ties marked by landmark nuclear deal, said the two countries are in the process of creating a relationship that will become over time "the or one of the most important relationships" the US has in the world.
"I believe the relationship created during the last five years will be durable, will be sustained and will not move backwards. It will remain a pre-eminent relationship," he underlined.
He emphasised the point that the Indo-US relations, which had not been up to their potential for over five decades despite "affection", have lately undergone a major shift in terms of content.