The US Ambassador Nancy Powell resigned few days ago while bilateral ties are not in very good condition between US and India. Many believe that the Khobragade issue is mainly the reason for this resignation. The US-India relations were already on the low and appointment of Powell was considered move from US government to further lower priority in relations with India since Powell did not have good influence in White House and is considered a lightweight.
She was also unsuccessful in boosting the ties between the two countries after it suffered a setback when Khobragade was arrested. It is being said that Powell was not able to predict the reaction Indian community will have when Khobragade was arrested and put forward her assessment to US government, which failed to show the right picture. This incidence made the US State Department look for replacement for her.
If we recall Delhi had reacted strongly in the Khobragade incidence and reduced privileges for US diplomats working in India. Many had to cancel their trips scheduled for December and the Indian establishments did not welcome the US delegations properly. MEA also did not meet Powell during that time. Many in Obama government also think that Powell was responsible since one of the official working under her assisted Sangeeta Richards family to go to USA on government’s cost.
Sangeeta was the domestic help due to whom Khobragade was arrested by police in the US. Experts also believe that the Khobragade incidence was not handled properly by the US Embassy and should not have been allowed to reach the legal system.
Cold Ties with Modi
There are other speculations that US decided to replace Powell due to her cold ties with the Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and anticipating a BJP government coming to power after the Lok Sabha elections.
Different speculations are being made about why Powell resigned, as US Embassy did not clearly specify the reason for the same. According to a report in TOI, Powell was following antipathy present Congress government as towards Narendra Modi and since it is expected that BJP may win in the coming elections, US decided to search for a alternative for her.
As we can clearly see, resignation by Powell was certainly not normal and many incidences over time can be linked to it. It however remains unclear whether the main issue for resignation was the Khobragade incidence or Narendra Modi, which we may identify in the coming days.