Washington, DC/New Delhi – Kenneth I. Juster, the US Ambassador to India, lands today (Thursday morning local time in India) to succeed Indian American Richard Verma, President Obama’s nominee, who was asked to step down before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, leaving the post unfilled for almost a year.
“Congrats, Ken Juster, the new US Ambassador to India! Vice President Mike Pence said in a tweet after administering the oath of office to him. “The ties between the United States and India run deep, and @POTUS & I are confident that with his leadership, integrity & experience, Ken will build an even stronger partnership that will benefit our nation & our people,” Pence said.
According to sources, the fast track to rush to India is to prepare for the successful visit of Ivanka Trump to Hyderabad later this month. The First Daughter and senior presidential advisor, Ivanka will be leading a high-powered delegation of American officials and entrepreneurs to attend the Global Entrepreneur Summit being hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Hyderabad, India.
The date and timing of presenting of credentials so Juster can assume official duties is still unclear but sources in the Indian capital New Delhi told IAT that there are efforts afoot to hasten the process as soon as possible.
Earlier on November 2, the US Senate unanimously confirmed Juster as the next ambassador to India. Juster had till recently served as the deputy assistant to the US President for International Economic Affairs, coordinating international economic policy with national security and foreign policy.
Democrat Senator Mark Warner from Virginia, who is the co-chair of the Senate India Caucus said, “I was proud to support Ken’s nomination to be our country’s representative in India, one of our most important defense partners in the region. As Ambassador, I trust his decades of work on critical issues like trade, cyber-security and defense will help advance the US-India relationship in a positive direction.”
Welcoming the Senate confirmation, Sanjay Puri, President of the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) remarked, “An expert on US-India affairs, Ambassador Kenneth Juster will need to balance the nationalistic agendas of PM (Narendra) Modi and President (Donald) Trump. Both leaders are considered pragmatic deal makers and the Ambassador has to leverage an alliance that will mutually benefit each other.”
Juster is an alumnus of Harvard College and received his master’s degree in Public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and his law degree from the Harvard Law School. Juster served as Under Secretary of Commerce from 2001-2005, Counselor (acting) of the State Department from 1992-1993, and deputy and senior adviser to the Deputy Secretary of State from 1989-1992. In the private sector, he has been a partner at the investment firm Warburg Pincus LLC, Executive Vice President at Salesforce.com, and senior partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter.
Juster has served as Chairman of Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and as Vice Chairman of The Asia Foundation. He founded and served as the US Chair of the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group, and was one of the key architects of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership initiative between US and India, which laid the foundation for the historic civil nuclear agreement.