US President Joe Biden is sending top American diplomat Daniel Smith as its interim envoy to India amidst the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country to spearhead close cooperation with it and ensure the two nations continue to advance their shared priorities, including overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ambassador Daniel Smith, the Director of the Foreign Service Institute who recently served as acting Secretary of State and Acting Deputy Secretary of State, will be departing for New Delhi to serve as Charge d’Affaires, ad interim,” the US State Department announced on Friday.
The position of US Ambassador to India is lying vacant since January 20, when Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. The position needs a Senate confirmation. The confirmation process after the nomination generally takes several months. Given the unfolding humanitarian crisis in India, the Biden administration cannot afford not to have its diplomatic post in New Delhi without ahead.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. In Smith, the administration is sending someone carrying the highest Foreign Service rank of Career Ambassador.
“Smith’s appointment underscores the United States’ strong commitment to our partnership with the Government of India and the Indian people,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said. “He will spearhead close cooperation with India to ensure that our countries continue to advance our shared priorities, including overcoming the global pandemic,” Price said. The US stands in solidarity with India, and Smith is committed to working together with India in partnership, said the State Department.