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US ambassador-designate Nancy Powell arrives in India

Delhi,Diplomacy, Thu, 19 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) US ambassador-designate Nancy J. Powell arrived here Thursday, following her March 29 confirmation by the American Senate as the first woman head of the US mission in India.


Powell, who so innovatively said 'hello' to India in 10 different Indian languages earlier this week, holds the highest rank in the US foreign service, with the title of career ambassador.


Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Feb 7, she had said India will be "a leading security partner of the United States in the 21st century".


"Our relations are firmly grounded in a set of shared democratic values and an increasingly shared strategic vision of both the opportunities that can promote those values as well as the threats that can undermine them," she had said.


Prior to US President Barack Obama nominating her as ambassador to India, Powell, 65, was director general of the foreign service and director of human resources.


She was the US ambassador to Nepal from August 2007 to August 2009. From 2006-2007, she served as the national intelligence officer for South Asia at the national intelligence council, as the state department's senior coordinator for avian influenza, and as acting assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement activities.


Powell has also served as ambassador to Pakistan, Ghana, and Uganda.


Other prior assignments also include serving as the deputy chief of mission in Bangladesh and Togo, acting assistant secretary for African affairs, principal deputy assistant secretary for African affairs, consul general in Kolkata, and minister counsellor for political affairs at US embassy in New Delhi.


She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1970.


For that intimate message of greetings earlier this week, Powell had wielding a much-used camera, and is shown in the video walking around the National Mall in Washington DC as she speaks about her time in India from 1992 to 1995 when she served in Kolkata and in New Delhi.


"I am impressed by how much deeper and broader Indian-American relations have become and how much greater role India now plays in addressing the world's challenges," she said outlining her ambitious built on a "rock solid foundation".


The 2.36-minute video, released by the US embassy in New Delhi ahead of Powell's arrival, is subtitled in 10 Indian languages: Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi and Gujarati.


Powell said she plans to travel to all corners of India, and that she sees India and the US "forming one of the definitive partnerships of the 21st century". She is also looking forward to walks in Lodhi Gardens in central Delhi, she said.


But "I am not focused on reliving the past", she says, and speaks of capturing a "future of even stronger ties between US and India".


"Phir milenge," ("Till we meet again,") she concludes, just before flying down to New Delhi.


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