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US Ambassador to India Resigns

The State Department says Monday's resignation of U.S. ambassador to India Nancy Powell has nothing to do with any recent tensions between the two countries.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says Ambassador Powell had planned to retire from public life for some time. Harf said she does not know why the ambassador announced her resignation at this time, but says all rumors and speculation are totally false.

Relations between India and the United States have been cool since the arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York in December. The United States accused her of breaking U.S. law by underpaying a maid and lying about it on a visa application.

Indian analysts say Powell's resignation may be part of a U.S. effort to reset relations with India, which will have a new government next month after parliamentary elections.

Powell met in February with Indian opposition leader and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, who could become the new prime minister.

U.S. officials had been refusing to meet with Modi. The United States cancelled his visa in 2005 for his alleged role in anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, killing more than 1,000 people.

India's retiring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said it would be a disaster if Modi becomes prime minister.

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