Shortly on the heels of its announcement that more than $ 100 million in assistance was being directed to India, the Biden administration announced the appointment of Daniel Smith, the Director of the Foreign Service Institute, as the new interim Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in New Delhi.

Mr. Biden has not yet appointed an ambassador to India.

Mr. Smith was acting Secretary of State for a few days after the Trump administration’s Mike Pompeo demitted office and before Antony Blinken was sworn in Secretary of State.

“Ambassador Smith carries the highest Foreign Service rank of Career Ambassador,” a State Department statement said.

Mr. Smith’s appointment was announced on the same day the White House issued travel restrictions for India. The timing was possibly to soften the impact of the former. On a practical level, the interim appointment is also likely to facilitate US-India cooperation on fighting COVID-19.

“Ambassador Smith’s appointment underscores the United States’ strong commitment to our partnership with the Government of India and the Indian people. He will spearhead close cooperation with India to ensure that our countries continue to advance our shared priorities, including overcoming the global pandemic, ”a State Department statement said.

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