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Atul Keshap is Biden’s newest envoy to India. 63 yrs ago, his American mother also worked here

Atul Keshap has been appointed the US' interim Chargé d’Affaires in India. His mother Zoe Calvert had also served at the US Embassy in New Delhi from 1958-1960.

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New Delhi: Senior career diplomat, Atul Keshap, who has been appointed as the US’ interim Chargé d’Affaires in India, celebrated his appointment by tweeting a photograph with his mother Zoe Calvert, who had also served at the US Embassy in New Delhi from 1958-1960.

“Before departure for India, I went home to Charlottesville to seek my Mother’s blessings. (sic),” he tweeted Wednesday.

Keshap, 50, is the latest Indian-American envoy to be appointed by the Joe Biden administration.

In a statement Tuesday, the US State Department said he will bring “a wealth of experience to the role”, adding that his appointment will reinforce the close Indo-US partnership. Keshap was appointed following the retirement of Ambassador Daniel Smith.

Keshap has led a 27-year career as an American diplomat, having served previously at the US Embassy in New Delhi and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia. He most recently served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and also as the US ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

In 2018, he received one of the State Department’s highest honours, the Distinguished Honor Award, in recognition of his leadership in advancing US interests in the Indian Ocean Region.

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Father was UN development economist, mother served in foreign service

Keshap was born in June 1971 in Nigeria. His father was Punjab-born Dr Keshap Chander Sen, who served as a UN development economist. His mother, Calvert, had earlier served in the US Foreign Service when she met and married Dr Sen in London. She had also served at the US embassy in India between 1958 and 1960.

Keshap was one of four children who grew up across countries like Lesotho, Zambia, Afghanistan and Austria.

“My parents’ service and my upbringing instilled in me a firm dedication and commitment to American values, and led me to a career in the Foreign Service,” Keshap said in 2018. Keshap’s wife Karen is also a foreign service officer.

Keshap joined the foreign service in 1994. He was the Director for UN Human Rights in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs from 2008-10 and Deputy Political Counselor at the US Embassy in New Delhi from 2005-08.

From 2010 to 2012, he was the director for India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. From 2012 to 2013, he served at the State Department as a US senior official for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Prior to his current assignment, he served as Vice Chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, DC, from 2018 to 2019.

(Edited by Rachel John)

Also read: Biden’s ‘trusted political ally’ Eric Garcetti could be next US ambassador to India


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