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Senate Unanimously Picks Kenneth Juster as U.S. Ambassador to India

Kenneth Juster had laid the foundation for the India US civil nuclear agreement.
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The United States Senate confirmed on Nov. 2 that Kenneth Juster, a long-time expert on India-U.S. relations, will be the Ambassador of the United States to India. Juster was nominated for the position by U.S. President Donald Trump in early September.

The post had been lying vacant since Richard Verma, the previous U.S. Ambassador to India, was asked to vacate it since he was an appointee of the Barack Obama administration. Juster currently holds the position of the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in the White House.

“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,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who had introduced Juster, the nominee of a Republican president, said at his confirmation hearing. Warner is also Co-chair of the bipartisan India Caucus in the Senate.

“I have known Ken since we were in law school in the 1970s. As Ambassador, I trust his decades of work on critical issues like trade, cybersecurity and defense will help advance the U.S.-India relationship in a positive direction,” Warner, who also serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement released shortly after Juster was confirmed.

Juster, 62, received unanimous support from the bipartisan Upper House. He had played a crucial part in the India-U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement. Juster was the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security from 2001 to 2005 in the Bush administration. From 2005 to 2017, he was the Executive Vice President of the technology company Salesforce.com and Managing Director at the global investment firm, Walter Pincus.

He founded and chaired the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group in 2002, and played an important role in developing the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) initiative. He was a member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations from 2007-2010 and received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit from the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (for contributions to U.S.-German relations) in 2006.

Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), had told Juster, during his hearing for the confirmation, to “seek a level playing field for American companies” in India. To Corker’s query Juster responded that if he was confirmed for the job he would “advance the strategic partnership with India, a relationship that is critical to our national security and economic interests.”

“There is enormous potential in the economic sphere, but we have only begun to scratch the surface,” he said. “We need to continue pressing forward to make sure that India adheres to its WTO (World Trade Organization) obligations,” he said. He promised to advocate strongly for U.S. business interests in India as well as intellectual property rights.

Juster will head to India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held in Hyderabad at the end of November. The event will be attended by Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka. India and United States are co-hosting the annual event.

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