The Obama administration's "perceived missteps", including a reference to Indo-Pak ties in a Sino-US joint statement, have triggered concerns among Indian officials that the country has been suddenly relegated to the second tier of the America-Asian relationship, a media report claimed in Washington on Saturday.
Ahead of Prime Minister Manhohan Singh's four-day state visit here beginning tomorrow, The Washington Post reported citing unnamed Indian officials and analysts that statements by the US administration during the Asia trip of the Obama, which ended this week, have raised concerns that the America is leaning too closely to China.
The paper referred to two "perceived missteps" by the administration.
First Obama's speech in Tokyo on America's relationship with Asia had no mention of India; even though subsequently his top Administration officials have been trying to make amends by repeatedly saying that India and China are two major powers in Asia, the report noted.
What has more concerned Indian officials, it said, is the joint US-China statement which gives a sense that Obama "appeared to open the door for Beijing to act as a mediator of sorts" in ties between India and Pakistan.
China and the US, the statement had said, "are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace, stability and development in that region."
India has ruled out any third party role in Indo-Pak relationship.
Ashley Tellis, a former State Department official now at the Carnegie Endowment, was quoted as saying by the newspaper that he had detected in India "a sense of exclusion that's been gnawing at them since the Tokyo speech."
Tellis was quoted as saying that the Sino-US joint statement prompted new fears that somehow the US and China would collude to manage events in South Asia.
He claimed that this has caused particular neuralgia in India. In addition, Indians are concerned that the Obama administration, unlike the previous Bush regime, views it as "part of the South Asian problem," which includes the war in Afghanistan and instability in Pakistan.
"The froth and boil of the moment notwithstanding, the US-India relationship that I know is a totally transformed creature," Frank Wisner, US ambassador to India from 1994 to 1997, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.