Indian-American nominated for key post in Obama AdministrationUS President Barack Obama has nominated an accomplished Indian-American woman administrator as America's new point person for South Asia to succeed Robert Blake.
Subject to confirmation by the Senate, Nisha Desai Biswal, who is currently the Assistant Administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will replace incumbent Blake to head the South Asia bureau in the US State Department.
Desai is expected to become the first person of Indian-origin to head the bureau, which oversees US foreign policy and relations with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan.
Biswal's nomination by Obama yesterday came along with announcements for seven other senior administration level positions.
"It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals have agreed to join this Administration to serve the American people. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come," Obama said in a statement.
Biswal, who received a BA degree from the University of Virginia, has been the Assistant Administrator for Asia at the USAID, since September 2010.
Although Afghanistan and Pakistan come under the South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department, they, however, are handled by the Special US Representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the designation currently held by Jim Dobbins.
From 2005 to 2010, Biswal was the Majority Clerk for the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee on the Committee on Appropriations in the US House of Representatives. From 2002 to 2005, she served as the Policy and Advocacy Director at InterAction.
Previously, Biswal had served as the professional staff of the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee from 1999 to 2002.
She served at USAID from 1995 to 1999 in a number of capacities including Special Assistant to the Administrator, Chief of Staff in the Management Bureau and in the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Office of Transition Initiatives.
Biswal worked at the American Red Cross from 1993 to 1995 in the Washington headquarters, and as an overseas delegate in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
She is also a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on the People's Republic of China since March 2011.