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Indian-American takes over as Obama’s point person for South, Central Asia

Indian-American takes over as Obama’s point person for South, Central Asia

Washington: The success of Nisha Desai Biswal and other Indian-Americans is reflective of the deep ties between the United States and India, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

Ms. Biswal, the first ever Indian-American to become Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was formally sworn in by Mr. Kerry at an impressive ceremony held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department which was attended by key officials of the Obama administration including the White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough.

“Nisha’s experience and the success that so many Indian Americans bring to the American table shows to everybody in the world the deep ties that we have between the United States and India.

“And I know that we’re going to unlock the enormous potential of stronger economic, security, and cultural ties between our countries,” Mr. Kerry said in his remarks.

Describing Ms. Biswal as an woman with “incredible energy” and praising her focus and her enthusiasm for what she does, Mr. Kerry said, “Think about the message that we’re sending today, which I am excited about: The story of a woman who left a small town in India at age 6 to come to America and now becomes one of the most important leaders in the Department of State.

“It’s a great story; it’s the American story. It is proof of the power of the American journey. It helps capture how in every generation, immigrants revitalize America and renew us and help to remind us of our common roots and then go on to write the next chapter of American history,” he said.

As the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Ms. Biswal would be Mr. Obama’s point person for entire South and Central Asia — a region of the world, which Mr. Kerry said is home to 2 billion people and has a collective GDP of $2 trillion.

“We are invested in that region’s prosperity for the long haul and in naming Nisha Biswal as the Assistant Secretary today, we show the strength of that commitment,” he said.

Mr. Kerry said Ms. Biswal’s colleagues say that she is somebody who speaks softly and carries a big stick.

“The truth is she doesn’t need to speak too loudly about so many of America’s strengths because whether it’s women’s rights or human rights or a belief in the power of education and equal opportunity, Nisha has lived every single one of those lessons,” he said.

“She leads every single day with those lessons in mind. She takes charge of our efforts now in one of the most complex, dynamic regions of the world,” he said.

In her remarks, Ms. Biswal said from her childhood and throughout her life, she has sought the opportunity to serve the country, the United States of America, in the way that her grandparents, who were freedom fighters in India, served their country.

“And that is why I am so honoured by the responsibility that has just been invested in me. As the Secretary noted, it is indeed a high honour to represent the United States and to lead our engagement with such a vital region that is shaping global politics and economics for the 21st century,” Mr. Biswal said.

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