Washington: President Barack Obama`s National
Security Adviser James Jones, a close friend of India, has
stepped down and would be replaced by his deputy Tom Donilon.
Announcing Gen (Retd) Jones` resignation, Obama said last
night that "the American people owe Jim an unbelievable debt
of gratitude for a lifetime of service."
"... Jim has always been a steady voice in Situation Room
sessions, daily briefings and with meetings with foreign
leaders, also representing our country abroad with allies and
partners in every region of the world," he said at the Rose
Garden of the White House with Jones and Donilon standing by
Jones, considered close to India, recently met several
top Indian leaders and officials, including Defence Minister A
K Antony, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.
During Jones` tenure, the US "reset" relations with
Russia and signed a historic new START treaty on arms
reduction, Obama said.
"And after years of drift, we have built a broad
international coalition to hold Iran accountable and applied
unprecedented pressure through tough new sanctions," he said.
"We have renewed the push for peace in the Middle
East, charted a course to secure vulnerable nuclear materials
within four years, and re-established our leadership in the
Pacific Rim, while taking the lead in forging a response at
the global level to the economic crisis," Obama said.
About Donilon, the President said he has a wealth of
experience that will serve him well in this new assignment.
"He has served three Presidents and been immersed in
our national security for decades," he said.
"We have some huge challenges ahead. We remain a
nation at war, and we will not rest in our efforts to disrupt,
dismantle and defeat al Qaeda. And above all, we are committed
to forging the kind of American leadership that can shape the
world in the 21st century," Obama said.