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US ambassador to India quits after rift

Published on Apr 1, 2014 1:17 AM
In this photo taken earlier this year, Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (R) presents a bouquet of flowers to US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell (L) as they meet in Gandhinagar in western Gujarat state. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US ambassador to India resigned Monday in the wake of a bitter rift between the usually friendly countries following a diplomat's arrest in New York.

The announcement by Nancy Powell, a veteran diplomat with extensive experience in South Asia, comes days before India heads into elections in which the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi - formerly a US pariah - is forecast by polls to become prime minister.

Ms Powell, in a brief statement, did not elaborate on her reasons but said that her decision was "planned for some time" and that she will retire by the end of May in the eastern US state of Delaware. She is in her late 60s.

Ms Powell, who has been ambassador for less than two years, submitted her resignation to President Barack Obama and announced her decision at a meeting of staff in New Delhi, said the statement issued by the embassy.

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