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Nancy Powell's all of a sudden resignation: Who's responsible more, Khobragade or Modi?
All of a sudden the US Ambassador to India Nancy J Powell resigned from her post. She informed about her resignation to the Obama administration in a US Mission Town Hall meeting on March 31. She was the first woman Ambassador, the US had deployed in India in 2012, with a prestigious title of career Ambassador.

Post Powell's resignation, many theories are doing rounds speculating possible reasons behind her surprising move. The top most being the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's episode, which brought a significant amount of chill in the Indo-US relations.

Interestingly BJP's PM-in-waiting Narendra Modi is also appearing as a possible factor responsible for Powell's resignation. Some media reports say that Obama administration was not happy with the Powell's reluctance to engage Narendra Modi like the Britain and some other European countries did. A ToI report says, “Powell was believed to be going by the UPA government's antipathy to Modi.”

Chintamani Mahapatra, Chairperson of American Studies Program in JNU, while talking to us on the issue of Powell's resignation said, “The main thing is that she has been a career diplomat and lot of negative things happened during her tenure, most importantly the Devyani Khobragade case, which was a serious issue and has strained the relationship between India and US.”

The Khobragade incident had an unlikely fallout on Washington’s attempt to reach out to the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who had been denied a visa for more than a decade now. While the American embassy was keen to schedule a meeting between Powell and Modi at the end of last year, it got delayed because of the Khobragade row, a First Post report says.

“There are widespread hopes that government will change in New Delhi, and in this context, the US administration is probably trying to resume the relationship with India and want to turn it out into a positive collaboration as before,” said Mahapatra.

According to Mahapatra, Powell is at fag end of her career and in few days she would have retired, but resigning before her tenure ends, clearly indicates that Washington is giving importance to Indo-US relationship.

“And it is also certain that UPA may not form the government this time and they want to improve their relationship with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,” added Mahapatra

Who will be the possible successor to Powell? Mahapatra has to say that whoever it is going to be, he or she will be a political appointee.

“They are going to replace Powell with a political appointee, as they are high profile once and can engage India at political level, which will help in restoration of normalcy in diplomatic interaction between India and US,” said Mahapatra.

Meanwhile according to various media reports, Rajiv Shah, head of USAID and the highest ranking Indian American in Obama's administration may replace Powell. Importantly, Shah's parents are from Gujarat.



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