US Senate confirms appointment of three Indian Americans

Aug 4, 2017 17:03 IST

Three Indian-Americans picked by President Donald Trump have been confirmed by the US Senate to key governmental posts.

While Neil Chatterjee was confirmed on 3 August as the member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a body that oversees electricity, natural gas and oil at the national level, Vishal Amin got confirmed as the Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement Coordinator in the Trump administration.

The third Indian-American to get confirmed to a key governmental position was Krishna R Urs, who was confirmed as the US Ambassador to Peru.

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Key Details

• Urs, who is a career foreign service officer since 1986, is the second Indian-American to have been selected for an ambassadorial position by the Trump administration, only after Nikky Haley (US ambassador to the United Nations).

• Chatterjee is also the second Indian American to be appointed by Trump to a major regulatory position with a controversial mission.

• He would play a key role in Trump's programme to reshape energy policy, which is facing stiff opposition from the environmentalists and the Democrats.

• Amin, on the other hand, would have the toughest role to play, as he would be responsible for enforcement of intellectual property, an area where India and the United States share sharp differences.

• In April 2017, the US retained India on its priority watch list for "lack of improvement" in the IP framework. However, India had termed the report as a unilateral move by the US.

 US Senate confirms appointment of three Indian Americans

About Neil Chatterjee  

• He is a lawyer, political advisor and a government official working under the Government of United States.

• Till recently, Chatterjee held the influential position of energy policy advisor to the United States Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

• He helped shape energy legislation and his work backed the Senator's campaign against regulations to restrict the use of coal for electricity generation.

• He was nominated by President Donald Trump to become a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has been confirmed by the US Senate.

• He has previously worked for the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce.

• In his new position, he is likely to handle Trump's plans to allow the construction of the Keystone pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada to Texas in the US, a move that was halted by former President Barack Obama and several other gas pipeline projects.

 US Senate confirms appointment of three Indian Americans

About Krishna Urs

• He has been a career member of the Senior Foreign Service since 1986.

• He was till recently Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Madrid, where he was also the Deputy Chief of Mission.

• He had taken over after James Costos, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, had decided to step down from his position.

• With almost 30 years of experience in Foreign Service, Urs has specialised in economic issues and developed extensive policy experience in the Andean region of South America.

• He is also proficient in three languages, Spanish, Hindi and Telugu.

• He has served at seven US embassies as well in various senior leadership positions in Washington, DC.

• He previously also served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs and Chief US Government Aviation Negotiator at the Department of State from November 2010 until June 2014.

 US Senate confirms appointment of three Indian Americans

About Vishal Amin

• He is an Indian-American attorney and government official.

• He was till recently serving as a senior counsel for the US House Judiciary Committee.

• The position that he has been newly appointed to under the Trump Administration is often referred to as ‘IP Czar’. It was created by an act of Congress in 2008 in order to help the government combat online piracy.

• Amin previously served in the administration of George W. Bush as the White House's associate director for domestic policy and as special assistant and associate director for policy in the United States Department of Commerce.

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