Ken Juster and the fine art of Indo-US sports diplomacy

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After months of waiting and much speculation, India finally has a new US Ambassador. Ken Juster is an agreeable match both ways as he has a reputation of being an old India lover.

He has started off too in style by posting this interesting video that should appeal to Indians at many levels. The Ambassador has shared a short and sweet video that oozes with excitement for the new job and traces his connection with the country that started, he says, as a kid from the photographs of his parents trip to India in the 70s. It is indeed a heart-winner all the way.

The cutesy video – a far cry from a boring diplomatic speech ends even better, with the Ambassador describing his interest in sports and how he is looking forward to playing cricket in India!

If anything sways the crowd psyche in India it is cricket and with this video the freshly-minted US envoy wins the hearts and imaginations of the cricket-crazy nation in one clean sweep.

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The Ambassador who says that his deep interest in India is only matched by his interest in sports adds, “I believe that sports are a great way to get friends together and build bridges between people of different countries and cultures.”

Amen to that!

An old hand at diplomacy, political and corporate cultures, Juster, 62 has served under several Republican Presidents including, George Bush and George W Bush.

Juster had played a key role in enhancing Indo-US ties under the Bush administration.

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Juster, is an old India hand who had played a vital role in the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Juster founded and served as the US Chair of the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group, and was one of the key architects of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership initiative between the United States and India.

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In his 35 years of experience in a wide variety of roles, he has played a key role in the transformation of the US-India relationship and helped build a foundation for the historic civil nuclear agreement between the two countries.

Jester’s first task would be handling the much-hyped Global Economic Summit (GES) being hosted in Hyderabad later this month and ensuring that it is a success. The US President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump will be leading a high-powered delegation from the US to Hyderabad. American delegates, from US government officials to entrepreneurs are expected to attend the summit with Ivanka, who is also a senior presidential adviser in her father’s government.

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The GES is being hosted jointly by India and the US. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the high profile event.

Juster has previously served as Under Secretary of Commerce from 2001-2005, Counselor (acting) of the State Department from 1992-1993, and deputy and senior adviser to the Deputy Secretary of State from 1989-1992.

In the private sector, he has been a partner at the investment firm Warburg Pincus LLC, Executive Vice President at Salesforce.com, and senior partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter. He has also served as Chairman of Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and as Vice Chairman of The Asia Foundation.

Juster replaces Indian–American Richard Verma, who was nominated by President Obama and had resigned when President Trump took over, as the top American diplomat to India. Verma had resigned in January after President Trump was sworn-in and the position has stayed vacant since then.

The US Vice President, Mike Pence had tweeted the news last week making it an official White House announcement,

Welcome to India Mr Ambassador looking forward to a great innings by you!

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