President Barack Obama has dispatched a personal letter to New Delhi
making it clear that India is "an absolutely critical country" with
which Washington is keen to work, a top official has said.
Undersecretary of State William Burns, who is in New Delhi to make
the first high level contact with the Manmohan Singh Government
since its return to power, would be delivering the "presidential
letter", US envoy, Richard Holbrooke, told reporters on Wednesday
without providing details on the contents.
"It's a private letter," said Holbrooke. "But the important thing is
that the number three person in the Department of State has gone to
India to reaffirm immediately after the election,"said the US
special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Burns is now beginning the dialogue with the newly elected
Government in an atmosphere of great positive feelings," he said.
"And without getting into Indian politics, all I can say is that all
of us - Secretary (of State) Hillary Clinton, Bill Burns, myself,
President Obama - everyone looks forward to working with the newly
elected Indian Government."
is carrying the messages that I would have carried if I had had time
to go to New Delhi on this trip, but I couldn't do it," said the
envoy, who visited Pakistan last week to assess relief efforts to
help the estimated two million people who have fled a Pakistani
offensive against the Taliban.
I can tell you is that this Administration believes that what
happens in Afghanistan and Pakistan is of vital interest to our
national security. And ...that India is a country that we must keep
in the closest consultations with."
we consider India an absolutely critical country in the region,"
Holbrooke said. "They're not part of the problem, but they are
vitally affected, and we want to work closely with them," he added
explaining what some observers have described as a hole in Obama
administration's foreign policy focused on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Indians were very frank with us. They wanted to keep in touch with
us during the election period, but they had to wait through the
election, just like we do. It's the world's two greatest
Holbrooke, who visited New Delhi on his first two trips to the
region, said next week he would be meeting the new Indian ambassador
to the US, Meera Shankar, whom he already met twice.