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'India-US ties on right track'

delhi Updated: Jun 30, 2011 20:44 IST
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As he bid farewell, US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer on Thursday said relations between the two countries were moving in a postive direction and described pat down searches and criminal charges against Indian diplomats as an "occasional hiccup or challenge".

"(There are) really the positive stories going forward that define the relationship, and I hope the media will, quite frankly, concentrate on those good news stories as well as the occasional hiccup or challenge that takes place in the relationship," Roemer said.

He was replying to queries about the incidents of pat down searches and imposition of criminal charges against Indian diplomats in the US.

Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar and a few other diplomats were subjected in the recent past, to pat-down searches at the US airports over which India had registered its protest.

Criminal charges were also imposed on Kritika Biswas, daughter of an Indian diplomat only to be dropped later while Indian Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal has been slapped with forced labour charges by his former house keeper.

Roemer said these were important issues and the US was working on them.

"When Secretary Janet Napolitano was here, she said that we were working to improve how when you have a Minister, you have very important people visit the United States...that is a smooth process, that that takes place without incident," he said.

Roemer said the two countries were "coordinating more and more the travel itineraries so that those experiences do not take place in the future."

The US Ambassador said that though every now and then there is an incident that takes place either in India or in the US, the bigger picture suggests that the two countries have moved in a positive direction in the last ten years.

"We are working together in unprecedented ways in intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism. How we are working together across the globe on regional peace efforts," he said.

On the last day in his office, Roemer said, "This has been a phenomenal two years for me and my family. We are very grateful to not only the leadership in India but to the people of India for their hospitality.

The outgoing US Ambassador said in the last two years, there has been a "significant success" in relationship between the US and India.

"We have seen Prime Minister Manmohan Singh be honoured in the first state dinner given by the Obama administration and then we saw the President of the United States come to India with an historic and landmark visit talking about India's global relationship with the US," Roemer said.

Before proceeding for a meeting with the Prime Minister, he said, "I have India not only in my brain and in my stomach, but in my blood. I am sure you will continue to see a lot of me in the future with this great relationship."