Top American diplomat Daniel Smith has taken charge as the US interim envoy to India amidst the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country. The Biden administration had deputed him to spearhead close cooperation between the two countries 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, has taken over as Charge d’Affaires, ad interim.
“Namaste, I’m Dan Smith, the new Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Mission in India. These are difficult times, but I’m ready to get to work in support of the #USIndia partnership. Just as India helped the U.S., the U.S. will stand with India. I look forward to working with you all,” Smith tweeted soon after taking charge.
Namaste, I’m Dan Smith, the new Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Mission in India. These are difficult times, but I’m ready to get to work in support of the #USIndia partnership. Just as India helped the U.S., the U.S. will stand with India. I look forward to working with you all.
— Chargé D’Affaires Daniel B. Smith (@USAmbIndia) May 3, 2021
The position of US Ambassador to India had been 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 a head. 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 sees someone as 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 had 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.