A senior House Democrat is urging President Trump to quickly nominate an ambassador to India following his prime-time address calling on India to help the U.S. with Afghanistan.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) wrote in a letter to Trump on Tuesday that installing an ambassador to India would help with the administration’s stated goals in the Monday night address as well as other longstanding trade and defense priorities.
“After more than seven months in office, this critical appointment is long overdue and should be an immediate priority,” wrote Pallone, who noted he represents a large Indian-American population and co-founded the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Issues.
“India is also our strongest ally in South Asia, which you referenced in your address to the nation last night,” Pallone added. “It is in our immediate national interest to send an accomplished American to serve as our country’s senior diplomat in India.”
Trump put pressure on Pakistan and India on Monday night while explaining his decision not to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. Trump, who called for a surge in troops, acknowledged his strategy was a reversal from his long-held position that the U.S. military should withdraw soldiers.
"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond," Trump said during his address from Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.
Trump also noted that "India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development."
Multiple news outlets reported in late June that Trump was expected to nominate Kenneth Juster, a top deputy on the White House National Economic Council, as the next ambassador to India. But Trump has yet to formally submit a nomination to the Senate for confirmation.