Ambassador Nancy Powell's sudden resignation does not indicate any realignment of America's ties with India, the US has said, asserting there is "no big behind the scenes story" that led her to quit.
"All the rumours and speculation are, quite frankly, totally false. She is retiring, after 37 years - returning home to Delaware by the end of May," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters when asked about US envoy Powell's announcement that she has sent her resignation to President Barack Obama.
"I don't have further insight into why she chose now, but it's not at all related to anything happening in the relationship. It doesn't indicate any realignment of the relationship.
"It is in no way related to any tension, any recent situations. There's no big behind the scenes story here," Harf said.
When asked if Powell's resignation reflected any "realignment of diplomatic relations between India and the US seven days before the elections", she said there's "no big secret" to timing here.
In an unexpected development, Powell, 66, resigned yesterday, in the midst of general elections in India.
"She announced that she has submitted her resignation to President Obama, as has been planned for some time.
"This is the end of a distinguished 37-year career, she deserves to retire - that has included postings as US ambassador to Uganda, Ghana, Pakistan, Nepal and India, as well as service in a number of other locations. But I want to dispel any rumours out there that this is related in any way to anything besides her long-planned retirement," Harf said.
No decision has been made about Powell's replacement. The US said the key partnership with India will continue under whoever is named the next ambassador.
"Let me see exactly when she's heading back and who will be stepping in to fill in her shoes. Obviously, the relationship between the US and India isn't about one person - while incredibly important, it's about the whole host of officials that engage, from Secretary (of State, John) Kerry and others at the White House and here on down.
"So the relationship is much broader than our ambassador, although she is wonderful and amazing, and, again, I think, deserves a retirement after 37 years," the State Department Deputy Spokesperson said.
Harf said the US is looking forward to working with the new Indian government after the general elections and that the bilateral ties are stronger and would continue to strengthen.
"...we have a very, very close relationship with India on a whole host of issues, whether it's energy, the economy, environmental issues, security issues - a whole host of issues," she said.
Powell's detractors faulted her for the recent diplomatic stand off between the two countries on the Devyani Khobragade affair saying she could not foresee the problem and strains it could cause to bilateral ties.