Describing US and India as "natural allies", a top American diplomat has allayed all apprehensions that under Obama administration there is diminution of New Delhi's importance to Washington.
"I think the US and India increasingly are natural allies. We share a growing convergence of our values and our interests. Our peoples and our governments are engaged together in virtually every field of human endeavour," said Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.
"After more than a decade of cooperation, it is clear there's strong and bipartisan support in both countries to cooperate even more closely," he said.
Blake said the upcoming visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India would answer some of those who are whispering that President Obama's new comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan has somehow caused a diminution of India's importance to the United States.
"I am here to tell you that that is absolutely not the case. On the contrary, this is a time of great optimism and of great promise in our relations with India," he said.
"In a few weeks, as all of you know, Secretary of State Clinton is going to be going out to India to announce with our Indian friends our new strategic partnership between our two great nations," Blake said in his address to a meeting on Indo-US ties organised by the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think-tank.