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US ambassador dodges query on India's "policy paralysis"

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 11:26

Mumbai: US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell has refrained from commenting on the "policy paralysis" in India but expressed hope that "things related to US investment" in the country would move soon.

The Ambassador, who was speaking at an interaction organized by the Asia Society here last night, was asked if she was "a bit despondent about India's present policy paralysis" to which she quipped, "I am a career bureaucrat and a diplomat."

However, "We are hoping that particularly as I mentioned, on the economic policy both the analysis of what is needed in India but also what would take to encourage greater American investment, greater involvement in trade. We are hoping that some of those things that have been on the table for a while will move and move soon."

To a query on how would US persuade India not to import oil from Iran, Powell said, "There are two things. There is an international sanctions regime which has real teeth in it. That has had an impact on India's decision. It is calculations India has to make as to benefits from oil (import from Iran) versus the teeth of the sanctions."

"Secondly, we are hoping that Iran will comply with the IAEA and India's role there has been very, very helpful," the Ambassador said.

On the relation shared by US, India and Pakistan, Powell said, "It is very important for both the countries (US and India) in their own ways to continue the dialogue with Pakistan to find ways to ensure that its economy grows, its democracy is supported."

"Those ways it seems to me are the most fundamental ways that you counter terrorism. If you make people more prosperous, they have a stake, if you make people more democratic, they have an ability to control all of the elements of the government. But that is a very, very slow process. It only takes only one or two individuals who decide that they would like to undermine it," Powell said.

On the US decision to pull out its forces from Afghanistan in 2014, Powell said, "Unlike what happened back in 1989, the US is not going to disappear out of Afghanistan."

"We are going to have a diplomatic presence there, we are going to continue doing assistance work, we are going to have some people that will remain behind to support the Afghan forces where they don't have the capability," she said.


First Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 11:23
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