Nothing positive in Indo-US ties since nuclear deal NEW DELHI: Hard on the heels of India tossing out US bids for the MMRCA fighter aircraft deal, US ambassador Timothy Roemer announced he was leaving his post. Although his decision was unrelated to the MMRCA decision and was apparently in the works for a while, his decision to announce it on Thursday drew an immediate link to the Indian decision. There will be a blowback from Washington over the Indian decision, and many believe Roemer's announcement is the beginning. In a statement, Roemer said the US was "deeply disappointed" at losing out on the contract. "I have been personally assured at the highest levels of the Indian government that the procurement process for this aircraft has been and will be transparent and fair. I am extremely confident that the Boeing F/A 18IN and Lockheed-Martin F-16IN would provide the Indian Air Force an unbeatable platform with proven technologies at a competitive price," he said. Indian officials said it had been clear for some time that the US planes fell short on the technical specifications. For many who believed that political considerations could triumph, they did not take into account the current environment in the Indian government. After the massive corruption scandals involving the Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum allocation, there was no way this government would ever be able to override the technical arguments to take a political call. But on a larger canvas, the Indian decision shows the level of deterioration in India-US relations. From the nuclear liability law onwards, things have not been positive on the India-US front. India believes it bent over backwards to accommodate US concerns during the nuclear deal and in its aftermath, as in the end-user verification issue. The US believed it got short shrift on India's nuclear liability law which makes it difficult for US companies to get into the Indian nuclear power sector. Wikileaks earlier this year put a serious obstacle in the bilateral relations, with the Indian government treating the leaks as a sort of diplomatic betrayal. The dumped documents made the prime minister seem too keen to accommodate US views, portraying the Manmohan Singh government as being "US-friendly" (which despite all the closeness, is a bad word in the establishment). It was largely due to defence minister A K Antony that the India-US strategic dialogue was pushed back from April to July. India believed the US served it a bad turn when Washington allowed China to do a nuclear deal with Pakistan, bereft of the kind of conditions that India had to subject itself to. China will give extra nuclear reactors to Pakistan and there will be no separation of civil and military nuclear sectors as India was forced to do. All this happened with Washington's tacit consent. That went down badly in the Indian system. The US, on the other hand, believes India has not kept up its part of the bargain after the nuclear deal. They believe they made a huge concession to India by overcoming the dissent in their own system to support India for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Sources in Washington said the US would probably walk back from that support. The state of drift in India-US relations is likely to continue. The Indian government is consumed by serial domestic crises, and there is a virtual paralysis in the government's decision-making apparatus. In the US, the situation is not much better, and with Obama going into election mode soon, unlikely to improve. Sources also said that unlike George Bush, Obama is less of a big ideas man and much more transactional in his relationships. Its unclear whether he will listen to his advisers to pay India back for its decision. The first sign will be whether he appoints a new envoy for India any time soon.