NEW YORK - US President-elect Barack Obama is considering a proposal to appoint special envoys to Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as to India, according to media reports. The move is part of the Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton's plan 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, The New York Times reported. But the newspaper quoted a transition official as dismissing as "speculation" reports that former President Bill Clinton was being considered for appointment as a special envoy to deal with the Kashmir issue. Mrs Clinton and President-elect 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 Richard Holbrooke and Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, the Times said. In addition to the Middle East, one Democratic foreign policy adviser said, Holbrooke might be considered for an appointment as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and possibly Iran. The adviser said the decision had not been made. Mrs Clinton is recruiting Jacob Lew, the budget director under President Bill Clinton, as one of two deputies to strengthen the stat, the Times 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 Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration, are to be Hillary's chief lieutenants. Nominations of deputy secretaries, the Times said, would be subject to confirmation by the Senate. As Mrs Clinton puts together her senior team, officials were quoted as saying, she is also trying to carve out a bigger role for the State Department in economic affairs, where the Treasury has dominated during the Bush years. She has sought advice from Laura D'Andrea Tyson, an economist who headed Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, the paper said. The steps seem intended to strengthen the role of diplomacy after a long stretch, particularly under Secretary of State Colin Powell, in which the Pentagon, the vice president's office and even the intelligence agencies held considerable sway over American foreign policy, it said. Given Hillary Clinton's prominence, expanding the department's portfolio, however, could bring a conflict with other powerful cabinet members, it noted. An official was quoted as saying that Hillary was being supported in her push for more resources by Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Obama's incoming national security adviser, Gen James Jones. For years, the paper said, some Pentagon officials have complained that jobs like the economic reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq have been added to the military's burden when they could have been handled by a robust Foreign Service. "The Pentagon would like to turn functionality over to civilian resources, but the resources are not there," the official said. "We're looking to have a State Department that has what it needs."