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New Obama NSA bullish on India

world Updated: Oct 09, 2010 23:38 IST
Yashwant Raj

National Security Advisor Jim Jones became the third top ranking official, after Larry Summers and Rahm Emmanuel, to exit the Obama administration, stepping down on Friday to be replaced by his deputy Tom Donilon.

It's a development that India will welcome. Jones's exit had been in the air for a few weeks now, taking off in a big way after the publication of Bob Woodward's book on Obama administration's policies on Afghanistan — Jones came out looking a complete outsider.

His deputy Donilon, on the other hand, was the quintessential insider. But none of this showed through at the brief Rose Garden ceremony at which President Barack Obama announced Jones's departure and his replacement by his deputy.

The transition is expected to be seamless, as both Jones and Donilon were completely in sync with Obama and his efforts to reshape the US's foreign policy starting with Afghanistan.

They were also on the same side on India: and wholly aligned with President Obama's big push on India. nothing much is going to change in that respect.

"What you get more with Donilon is that he is the master of the process," said former state department official and a long-time expert on India Ashley Tellis. It's not going to be just the intuition that he shares with the President and Jones — that the relationship with India is something that needs to be invested in and protected.

"Donilon actually knowns how to make it happen in bureaucratic terms," Tellis said, adding, "that's something that Jones (a former Marine General) lacked." And that's going to be good for India.

Donilon, is a Washington insider who is held to be a master of the arts of politics. He served as chief of staff of President Billl Clinton's secretary of state Warren Christopher.

He joined Obama's campaign as a foreign policy adviser and after victory led the transition team on vetting officials for the state department. He was an extremely powerful deputy, whose personal equation with Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's chief of staff, troubled Jones a lot and worsened his feeling of being marginalised