Kenneth Juster, 62, who is the deputy assistant for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council to the US President, would replace Richard Verma if nominated and confirmed by the Senate.
After ending a month-long search that saw several Indian-Americans considered for the post, Juster was confirmed for the post however, his appointment is not expected in time for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US starting later this week.
The move has been welcomed by Ashley Tellis, a top India expert in the US.
“Ken knows India well and actually was deeply involved in successful bilateral negotiations between the two countries. The Indians will welcome him enthusiastically. He is a known quantity,” Tellis told The Washington Post.
“Ken Juster’s move to Indian Ambassador is because he is extremely qualified for the position,” White House deputy spokesperson Lindsay E Walters told PTI about a report carried earlier yesterday by The Washington Post.
Verma, the first Indian-American to head this position, put in his papers when Trump replaced Barack Obama as the President of the US.
A lawyer from Harvard, Juster is currently serving as a deputy assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in the White House. He had been a regular on the meeting list of senior Indian officials in DC for their first meetings with the Trump administration.
Others in the race had included Shalli Kumar, an Indian-American businessman from Chicago who had emerged as one of the major donors to the Trump campaign and who had been instrumental in the Republican nominee’s unprecedented outreach to the Indian-American community.