|Ambassador Rao with Obama in White House|
Among those who refused to come to New Delhi as US ambassador include Strobe Talbott who had worked in State Department earlier, and John Hamre, president of US think tank, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Talbott who is head of US think tank, the Brookings Institute, reportedly has some health problems. The Obama administration has now begun the process all over again as not having the right person to head US embassy in New Delhi could be detrimental to US interests.
|Meera Shankar with Hillary Clinton|
Contrast this. Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers weigh an US posting crucial for their career growth. Even after retirement, Indian diplomats and bureaucrats consider a posting in America highly rewarding. Nirupama Rao who had served as India’s foreign secretary chose to become India’s ambassador to US post retirement in place of her batch-mate Meera Shankar. No one doubts the calibre of Rao as a diplomat, but many in South Block feel a highly talented serving IFS officer could have been given the chance. In another posting, secretary to Prime Minister and 1972 batch retired IAS officer MN Prasad has joined as India’s new executive director in World Bank. He has replaced Pulok Chatterji who was called back even before his term got over. Chatterji has recently joined as principal secretary to PM in place of TKA Nair.For the PMO, sending their trusted men and women to US is also a strategic move as much as they are rewards for being useful. Both Rao and Prasad worked very closely with Prime Minister.