India a leading power and true friend, says Kenneth Juster new US envoy to India
An experienced bureaucrat in Indian affairs, the 62-year-old was serving as deputy assistant to the president for International Economic Affairs and deputy director of the National Economic Council in the White House.
The United States Senate on Thursday unanimously confirmed Kenneth Ian Juster as the next ambassador to India, filling a position that has been vacant for months after Richard Verma, an Obama appointee, left in the traditional churn accompanying the administration change.
Juster’s unanimous confirmation signals the bipartisan support he enjoys in the upper house. Not all of President Donald Trump’s nominees have found such overwhelming support — David Friedman, the ambassador to Israel, was narrowly confirmed by a 52 to 46 vote, and Nikki Haley, the nominee for UN, by 96-4.
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“I was proud to support Ken’s nomination to be our country’s representative in India, one of our most important defence partners in the region,” said Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who had introduced Juster, nominee of a Republican president, at his confirmation hearing. Warner is also co-chair of the bipartisan India Caucus in the Senate.
During his confirmation hearing, Juster told senators, “India and the United States share common values and a commitment to democracy, pluralism, and the rule of law… The (Trump) administration views India as a leading power and a true friend, whose influence internationally is important and growing.”
An experienced bureaucrat in Indian affairs, the 62-year-old was serving as deputy assistant to the president for International Economic Affairs and deputy director of the National Economic Council in the White House before his nomination as ambassador to New Delhi and emerged as the leading interlocutor for the administration with India and visiting officials.
He was a key part of the White House faction that had come to be branded the “globalists” or “moderates”, led by the president’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn and one that includes Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both advisers to the president.
They stood for continued engagement with the world; for instance, they argued for the United States to remain in the Paris Climate Accord. However, they lost to the “nationalists” group led by former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who pushed for an America First thrust on all Trump policies.
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