Washington/New Delhi: The US has reached out to India following WikiLeaks’ embarrassing disclosures that was condemned by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the American envoy in India assured New Delhi that it welcomes its ‘greater global leadership’ role in the world.
Clinton on Monday branded the leaks as an "attack on international community", saying the illegal disclosure of secret information "puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems".
"This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy; it is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conventions and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity," she said.
Shortly after Clinton’s remarks, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters: "We have had multiple conversations with officials in India. And like India and other countries, we’ll continue those conversations in the coming days."
Besides US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer, Under Secretary of State Bill "Burns and others have been in touch with their counterparts in India", he said but declined to say why Washington had reached out to India.
Asked to comment on Clinton’s reported description of India and other members of G4 — Brazil, Germany and Japan – as "self-appointed front-runners" for a permanent seat of UN Security Council, Crowley said: "I’m not going to comment on the contents of any cable."
Nor would he say what was broadly in the documents relating to the South Asia. "Again, I don’t think I can answer that question without getting into the contents of documents, which we won’t do."
Clinton was talking to her counterparts simply as a "a colleague and friend", he suggested. "We have called governments to warn them about what was happening, and we will continue to answer any question that they have as this continues."
Asked if it was legal on the part of diplomats to gather biometric data as directed by Clinton, as revealed by a leaked cable, Crowley said: "Diplomats – we both promote democracy, the rule of law, and we obey United States law."
In New Delhi, Roemer said: "The United States welcomes a greater global leadership role for India and values its perspectives on how to meet common challenges, including countering terrorism, securing our maritime domains, and working together to promote democratic, political and economic development around the world."
He said US President Barack Obama during his recent visit to India had described relations with India as one of the "defining partnership of the 21st century".
Roemer said that while Obama "supports responsible, accountable, and open government", the WikiLeaks release runs counter to that goal.
"The United States government is committed to maintaining the security of our diplomatic communications and is moving aggressively to hold accountable those responsible," he said.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama "was – as an understatement – not pleased" with the WikiLeaks disclosures.
Clinton also expressed confidence that US diplomatic efforts will survive the leak of the documents, whose authenticity she would not confirm.
"I can tell you, in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, ‘Don’t worry about it; you should see what we say about you,’" Clinton said. "I would hope we would be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together."
Clinton added, however, that "the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential."(IANS)