Keshap is a former official at the US Embassy in India.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: Indian American Atul Keshap has been appointed to the post of U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Keshap, 44, will become the second diplomat of Indian origin to serve in the region, after Richard Verma was presented with credentials as the U.S. Ambassador to India in January.
While Keshap is a former official at the U.S. Embassy in India, his newest appointment will be his first ambassadorial posting.
He started his career with the government in 1994 when he joined the Foreign Service, and moved to the White House in 2003, where he became director for North African and Middle Eastern regional affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.
He was also the director for UN Human Rights in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs from 2008 to 2010, and is currently working as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau of State Department.
In his current role, Keshap had worked closely with Assistant Secretary Nisha Desai Biswal to coordinate US policy toward India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan.
His father, Keshap Chander Sen, who was from Punjab, was a U.N. development economist working in Nigeria where Keshap was born in June, 1971. His mother, Zoe Calvert, had been in the U.S. Foreign Service when she met and married Sen in London. She had also served at the U.S. embassy in India, reported the Press Trust of India.
“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 stated during his confirmation hearing on June 23.
Kershap praised Sri Lanka for the progress it has made in fighting corruption and media censorship, and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to helping the Sri Lankan people “strengthen democracy, civil society, and human rights, including media freedom and freedom of religion.
Regarding the archipelago nation of Maldives, he added, “We want a better relationship with Maldives, so that we can deepen cooperation. And we want to help it return to the democratic path on which it courageously embarked a few years ago, and look forward to strengthening our relationship when that happens.”