Obama prefers Zardari to Manmohan

Srinagar, Nov 9: The US president-elect Barrack Hussein Obama hasn’t made a call to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, which the political observers see as an ‘affront’ and an indication that I...

Srinagar, Nov 9: The US president-elect Barrack Hussein Obama hasn't made a call to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, which the political observers see as an 'affront' and an indication that India 'will not be a priority for the new democratic dispensation'. However, the Indian officials said the media was just 'over-analysing' the matter.
After a victory in presidential election, Obama preferred to call Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari instead of New Delhi. The call to New Delhi has not yet come up, although he has spoken to 15 other world leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari, in the past two days.
US officials did not offer any substantial explanation as to why Obama had not called the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but New Delhi seemed happy to be in the same league as Beijing and Moscow, the other capitals Obama was yet to reach.
In a more serious vein, another official explained that "mutually convenient times" could not be found for the call before Singh left for the Gulf.
Political observers see Obama's not calling Singh, as an affront and an indication that India will not be a priority for the new Democratic dispensation, but Indian officials were not particularly agitated, saying the media was just 'over-analysing' the matter.
On the other hand, an official in New Delhi has claimed that the relation between president-elect and the Prime Minister had been warm and friendly and New Delhi did not particularly anticipate any backslide in the excellent relations it has enjoyed with Washington in recent years. The Prime Minister even wrote a personal letter to Obama with condolences on his grandmother's death earlier in the week.
Barack Obama reportedly made a call to leaders of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea on Thursday and followed it up with calls to President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain and Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari on Friday as he began to connect with the world.
Obama's transition office did not respond to messages seeking details of the call schedule.
Dr Manmohan Singh, in the meantime, has left New Delhi on a maiden three-day visit to the energy-rich Gulf region where he will be talking to leaders of Oman and Qatar.
Modern communication facilities do not preclude a Singh-Obama conversation on the go, but the Indian side is not holding its breath, although another official expected it to take place soon.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to be in Washington this coming weekend for the G-20 summit convened by President Bush. There is a chance that the PM will meet Obama then, since Bush has said the president-elect will be involved in the deliberations, although it's another matter whether the President-elect would want to be involved in the meeting or not.
Obama has also written a letter to the Prime Minister Singh during the latter's visit here in September, contents of which are being parsed for signs, of which way the future US-India ties will go in a Democratic dispensation.
But a former aide to Prime Minister Singh, who pointed out that Obama's first 100 days in office will coincide with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's last 100 days, surmises that ties between the two countries have reached a stage where change in governments will not make substantial difference.

Assures support to Zardari
Washington, Nov 9: US President-elect, Barack Obama called President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday and assured his full support for democracy in the country.
Obama, who achieved a historic win in the election to become the first Afro-American president, expressed hope that the two countries would continue to work together to expand their bilateral relationship.
President Zardari congratulated Obama on his success and said that Pakistan and the United States are allies and will maintain their close relationship.
Zardari expressed hope that Pakistan-US relations would be long term and broad based.

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