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A glass ceiling for Indian Americans in diplomatic service?

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US-President-Barack-ObamaWASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Serving in the U.S. government hasn’t been the main focus or goal of Indian-Americans since the country opened its doors to immigrants of the South Asian nation in the 60s, instead, they have spent the majority of their time striving for success in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

During their time spent traveling down this road, some have found themselves in the rare position of government power and public administration — Vivek Murthy and Bobby Jindal worked in the public health field; Iqbal Siddiqui made a splash in agriculture; Karan Bhatia and Arun Kumar in commerce and Vivek Kundra and Aneesh Chopra in information technology. The majority have returned to the private sector after their brief government tenure.

The U.S. Foreign Service has been widely regarded as difficult to crack for years, specifically because of the strict security demands that follow the Foreign Service Officers’ Test, an exam required in order to qualify for diplomatic status in the 15,000-member pool.

Nearly a half century after the Immigration Act of 1965 saw a large number of Indians arrive stateside, second-generation Indian-Americans have begun their attempt to inhabit foreign service in large numbers. Several of them now are working in senior level posts of the U.S. diplomatic corps.

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Last week’s nomination of Geeta Pasi by the Obama administration as its envoy to Chad made for the third such instance an Indian-American became a U.S. ambassador. Previously, president Obama nominated Richard Verma as ambassador to New Delhi and Atul Keshap to Colombo.

Exact figures remain unavailable, but there are believed to be dozens of Class I foreign service specialists of Indian origin currently serving, several of which are in line to become ambassadors. Among them, Krishna Urs, who is the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Madrid, and Uzra Zeya, deputy chief of the U.S. mission in Paris.

Not everyone has been pleased with the uptick in adversity from the Obama administration. The growing presence of Indian-Americans has left multiple Pakistani diplomats with an unsettling feeling — the country’s ex-ambassador Hussain Haqqani questioned how an increased presence of Indian-Americans would effect policy decisions.

 

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Trump impeachment inquiry hearings begin

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Trump Impeachment inquiry

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — On the first day of the public Trump impeachment inquiry hearings over the President’s dealings in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, testified one of his aides heard from EU ambassador Gordon Sondland that the President was focused on triggering investigations into Joe Biden and his son. The aide, David Holmes, reportedly also overheard a conversation between Trump and Sondland, where they discussed ‘the investigations.’ Holmes will appear for a closed-door deposition with impeachment investigators Friday. Republican allies of Trump painted the testimony of Taylor and George Kent as hearsay.

More than 100 Indian CEOs, political leaders and even Bollywood stars like Deepika Padukone will head Davos in January for the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to discuss making ‘cohesive and sustainable world.’ President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are also expected to be there.

The Food and Drug Administration granted Shreis Scalene Sciences (Shreis), an American company, a ‘Breakthrough Device Designation’ for the CYTOTRON, a cancer treatment, developed in India, by scientist Dr. Rajah Vijay Kumar in Bengaluru.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India, Pakistan trade quips at UNESCO

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UNESCO

PARIS (Diya TV)  — At UNESCO’s general conference in Paris, both Pakistan and India traded quips over Kashmir. Pakistan’s Minister of Education and newly elected President of UNESCO’s Education Commission Shafqat Mehmood efforted to convince UNESCO leadership to confront India over their recent constitutional change affecting Jammu and Kashmir, claiming 1.5 million Kashmiri students who have not been able to attend schools since August 5th. In response, India’s UNESCO delegate Ananya Agarwal countered that “Pakistan is the world’s largest producer and exporter” of terrorism, calling Pakistan’s charges “fabricated falsehoods.”

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Notable executives from the worlds of private investing, industry and nonprofits came together to talk about impact investing at Akshaya Patra’s TAP Forum in the Bay Area. The goal is to take the diasporas success to build a foundation for the next generation.

The Indian women’s hockey team will get the chance to go for the gold in Tokyo, qualifying for the 2020 Olympics after beating team USA in a qualifying match.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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House holds hearing on human right violations in Jammu & Kashmir

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Jammu

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, examined the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was among those on hand hearing testimony from experts offering widely different narratives. The commission plans to take these perspectives into account before offering recommendations for action by Congress.

In a line of questioning during the impeachment inquiry lauded by many political analysts, Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi focused on the timeline of the Ukraine affair, confirming through witness testimony that once Congress began investigating quid pro quo by the Trump administration, security funds were released to Ukraine two days later.

American tech firms are increasingly sponsoring green cards, or permanent US residency, for their employees from India and elsewhere in an effort to hold on to their skilled talent at a time when work visa extensions have become unpredictable.

India will fund at least 250 defense startups over the next five years as it seeks new technologies for their armed forces. The plan is obtain at least 50 ‘tangible innovations’ by the startups for military use.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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