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Former American diplomat Howard B. Schaffer passes away

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Ambassador Schaffer had a BA from Harvard College and did graduate work at Columbia and Princeton.

Noted South-Asian expert and former political counselor at the US embassies in India and Pakistan, Howard B. Schaffer passed away on Sunday.

“A giant of US-India relations has passed. Going to miss the wise counsel-and humor- of Amb Howie Schaffer,” Richard Rossow, who is a senior fellow and holds the chair for Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, tweeted confirming the news.

Howard B. Schaffer (Courtesy of South Asia Hand)

Schaffer had also served as an ambassador to Bangladesh from 1984 to 1987. He spent much of his 36-year career dealing with US relations with South Asia.

“Sad news indeed…he was both a great mind and a generous soul,” tweeted Nisha Biswal, the head of US India Business Council.

Schaffer was twice deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for South Asian affairs. His earlier assignments included stints as director of the Office of Indian, Nepalese, and Sri Lankan Affairs and postings to New Delhi, Seoul, and Kuala Lumpur.

Ambassador Schaffer had a BA from Harvard College and did graduate work at Columbia and Princeton.

Schaffer authored many books including Chester Bowles: New Dealer in Cold War, Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk, The Limits of Influence: America’s Role in Kashmir, How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States: Riding the Roller Coaster.

Schaffer was also the author of many articles on South Asian matters. The Limits of Influence: America’s Role in Kashmir, published in 2009 by the Brookings Institution Press, won the American Academy of Diplomacy’s prestigious Douglas Dillon Prize for the best volume on the practice of diplomacy written that year by an American author.


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