Just 24 months after being appointed as President Obama’s envoy to New Delhi, Dr. Timothy Roemer has decided to return to the United States after resigning his post.
This is unfortunate. Roemer had no background or experience with South Asian affairs when he took this job. In my experience it takes the dedicated naive American at least 18-24 months before they can start to become productive in India. This is true of journalists, diplomats and corporate executives alike with few exceptions. Ambassador Roemer was making progress and was getting there, but has chosen to leave just as would become productive.
While Roemer cited personal and family reasons for quitting, it is doubly unfortunate that the announcement was made on the same day that India rejected two American companies on a major defense contract. The cause-and-effect betwen the two events in inevitable in the minds of analysts and laypeople alike.
Neither Roemer’s resignation, nor the loss of the MMRCA business will be major setback to the continuing alignment of the two largest democracies on earth.