Washington, Sept 11: US President Barack Obama has nominated Indian-American Puneet Talwar as Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, a top diplomatic post.
Talwar, who was Obama's top advisor on the Middle East region for over four years was nominated for the position by Obama yesterday. He is the second Indian-American to be nominated as the Assistant Secretary position in the State Department. In July, Nisha Desai Biswal was nominated as the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.
Both the positions need to be confirmed by the Senate. Obama announced his intent to nominate Talwar to the top State Department position along with nearly 30 senior administration positions. "I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people," Obama said.
"I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years," he added. If confirmed by the Congress, Talwar, in his capacity as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, will provide policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defence strategy and plans, and defence trade.
The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM), is the Department of State's principal link to the Department of Defence. Since 2009, Talwar has been a Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states on the White House National Security Staff.
He is the second Indian-American to be nominated for Assistant Secretary post.
Prior to this, Talwar had served as a Senior Professional Staff Member on the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate (SFRC) from 2001 to 2009 and from 1997 to 1999, he was the chief advisor on the Middle East to then Senator Joseph R Biden, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Talwar served as a member of the Department of State's Policy Planning Staff from 1999 to 2001. From 1992 to 1995, he served as a foreign policy advisor to Representative Thomas C Sawyer and from 1990 to 1992, as an official with the United Nations. Talwar received a BS from Cornell University and an MA from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.