Obama might appoint special envoy to India: report

Obama might appoint special envoy to India: report

New York: US President-elect Barack Obama is considering appointing a special envoy to India in his administration, a member of his transition team has said.

The New York Times today said a transition official has confirmed that Obama’s foreign policy advisers are discussing the possibility of appointing a special envoy to India.

But another official of the Obama team dismissed as “speculation" reports in the Indian media that former President Bill Clinton was being considered for appointment as a special envoy to deal with the Kashmir issue, the paper said.

Clinton and President-elect Barack Obama have not settled on specific envoys or missions, although diplomat Dennis Ross’s name has been mentioned as a possible Middle East envoy, as have those of Holbrooke and Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, the Times said.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, Obama’s choice for Secretary of State, is seeking to build a more powerful State Department with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys to trouble spots and an expanded role in dealing with global economic issues at a time of crisis, it said.

Clinton is recruiting Jacob J Lew, the budget director under President Bill Clinton, as one of two deputies, it said, citing people close to the Obama transition team.

Lew’s focus, they said, will be on increasing the share of financing that goes to diplomatic corps. He and James B Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration, are to be Hillary’s chief lieutenants.

The incoming administration is also likely to name several envoys thus reviving a practice of the Clinton administration, when Richard C Holbrooke, Dennis Ross and other diplomats played a central role in mediating disputes in the Balkans and the Middle East, it said.