US Senate confirms Indian-American Puneet Talwar for key State Department post

Since 2009, Talwar has been a Special Assistant to the US President Barack Obama.

Washington | Published: March 14, 2014 7:32:14 pm
US President Barack Obama. US President Barack Obama.

Puneet Talwar has been confirmed by the US Senate to a key diplomatic position, becoming the second Indian-American to join the State Department.

Talwar, who was a key aide of President Barack Obama on the Middle East, would now serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. He was confirmed on Thursday by voice vote.

In September last year Obama nominated Talwar, who played a key role on negotiations with Iran, to this top diplomatic position in the State Department.

After being sworn-in, Talwar would be the second Indian American serving as assistant secretary in the State Department after Nisha Desai Biswal, who is the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.

Talwar would provide policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defence strategy and plans, and defence trade.

The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs is the Department of State’s principal link to the Department of Defence.

Since 2009, Talwar has been a Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf States on the White House National Security Staff.

Prior to this, Talwar served as a Senior Professional Staff Member on the Committee on Foreign Relations of the US Senate (SFRC) from 2001 to 2009 and from 1997 to 1999, and was the chief advisor on the Middle East to then Senator Joseph R Biden in his capacity as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He served as a member of the Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff from 1999 to 2001. From 1992 to 1995, he served as a foreign policy advisor to Representative Thomas C Sawyer, and from 1990 to 1992 as an official with the United Nations.

Talwar received a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

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