New US en­voy’s fa­mil­iar­ity with In­dia may prove vi­tal

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Nation - Jayanth Ja­cob let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

Ken­neth Juster is ex­pected to move into Roo­sevelt House, a res­i­den­tial abode de­signed by fa­mous Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect Ed­ward Durell Stone, at the US Em­bassy com­plex in New Delhi soon.

The 62-year-old diplo­mat was sworn in as the US en­voy to In­dia on Tues­day, as­sum­ing a po­si­tion that had been ly­ing va­cant un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion since Jan­uary 20. The best part of Juster’s ap­point­ment, es­pe­cially in the light of the seem­ingly un­pre­dictable na­ture of the US pres­i­dent’s for­eign pol­icy, was the fact that he hap­pens to be a known en­tity in In­dia.

The new en­voy’s pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in the gov­ern­ment may help him hit the ground run­ning when he ar­rives in In­dia soon. He is ex­pected to han­dle the high-pro­file Global En­trepreneur­ship Sum­mit, at­tended by Ivanka – the daugh­ter and ad­vi­sor of pres­i­dent Trump – slated for the end of this month.

“When it comes to bu­reau­cracy, there isn’t a lot of dif­fer­ence be­tween In­dia and the US. So, hav­ing worked in the sys­tem will help him im­mensely,” said an In­dian of­fi­cial.

Juster has more than a fair idea about bi­lat­eral ties and chal­leng­ing pol­icy is­sues the two sides have ham­mered out in re­cent times. He was among those who worked on ad­dress­ing the deep mis­trust that cropped up be­tween In­dia and the US after the Pokhran-II nu­clear test, and helped fa­cil­i­tate ne­go­ti­a­tions to­wards ink­ing the civil nu­clear deal. Juster also served as the Amer­i­can chair in the US-In­dia High Tech­nol­ogy Co­op­er­a­tion Group un­der the Ge­orge Bush regime.

The diplo­mat has im­mense ex­pe­ri­ence in the US state depart­ment, where he served as the act­ing coun­selor in the early 1990s and se­nior ad­vi­sor to deputy sec­re­tary of state Lawrence S Ea­gle­burger from 1989 to 1992. A lawyer by pro­fes­sion, he func­tioned as a part­ner as well as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at the War­burg Pin­cus global in­vest­ment firm for over six years be­fore join­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Juster has also served as the chair­man of Har­vard Univer­sity’s Weather­head Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs, and as vice chair­man of The Asia Foun­da­tion. He holds a law de­gree from the Har­vard Law School, a masters de­gree in public pol­icy from the John F Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment, and a bach­e­lors de­gree in gov­er­nance from Har­vard Col­lege.

Go­ing by his com­ments dur­ing the senate hear­ing of his con­fir­ma­tion as the am­bas­sador, Juster will work to­wards fur­ther­ing two key agen­das – se­cur­ing the In­doPa­cific re­gion and pro­mot­ing de­fence ties – of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion firmly be­lieves that a strong In­dia and a strong US-In­dia re­la­tion­ship are in keep­ing with Amer­ica’s in­ter­ests. In­dia’s role in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion and glob­ally will be crit­i­cal to in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity as well as eco­nomic growth ,” he said.

“There are many el­e­ments of our ef­fort to ex­pand and en­hance the strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween our coun­tries. One key pil­lar is to deepen de­fence and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion build­ing on the US recog­ni­tion of In­dia as a ma­jor de­fence part­ner.”


Ken­neth Juster

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