- He will work closely with his former State Department colleague and outgoing president Nisha Biswal who will serve as Senior Vice President of International Strategy and Global Initiatives and South Asia.
Career diplomat Atul Keshap has been named president of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), effective Jan. 5. The council represents top global companies operating across the United States, India and the Indo-Pacific. It serves as the premier voice of the industry and creates connections between businesses and governments across the U.S. and India.
Keshap most recently served in New Delhi as United States Chargé d’Affaires to India, leading the U.S. Embassy team. He has held several senior U.S. government positions and is a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Department of State.
He replaces Nisha Biswal, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, who will remain deeply involved with the organization as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Vice President of International Strategy and Global Initiatives and South Asia, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce press release.
“New year, new horizons,” Keshap wrote in a Facebook post. “ I am delighted to start 2022 as the next President of the U.S.- India Business Council, and so happy to continue my professional collaboration with Nisha Biswal and colleagues and friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”
Biswal and Keshap worked together at the State Department, where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, working closely with Assistant Secretary of State Biswal to coordinate U.S. Government policy toward India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan. Before that, he served as the United States Senior Official for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a trade body whose members generate 55 percent of global GDP.
“As the next President of USIBC, I’m honored and excited to continue my involvement in shaping and strengthening the robust relationship between the United States and India,” said Keshap in the USIBC press release. “I’m thrilled to join the U.S. Chamber’s international powerhouse team and be part of the world’s largest and most influential advocacy organization,”
“I’m thrilled to welcome my former State Department colleague to the U.S. Chamber family,” Biswal said in the press release. “Ambassador Keshap brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of India and the Indo-Pacific to his new role. Across multiple U.S. administrations, he has been instrumental in expanding U.S.-India strategic and economic cooperation and growing commercial ties across multiple sectors.”
Keshap also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and worked with assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake as Director of the Office of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Bhutan Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, managing U.S. foreign policy toward a strategically important region that comprises a fifth of the world’s population.
His other postings include director of the Office of Human Rights, Humanitarian, and Social Affairs in the Bureau of International Organizations of the State Department; Deputy Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India; director for North African and Middle Eastern Regional Affairs on the National Security Council staff in the Executive Office of the President; Special Assistant for the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia from 2002-2003 for the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Operations Officer on the executive staff of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; and political/economic officer at U.S. Embassies in Rabat, Morocco and Conakry, Guinea.
Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, Keshap has also lived in Nigeria, Lesotho, Afghanistan, Zambia, and Austria. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. While there, he concentrated on Economics, International Relations, Diplomacy, and Religious Studies, as well as French.
He is married to Karen Young Keshap, who is also a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. They have three daughters and a son.
(Top photo, courtesy, Sri Lanka-U.S. Business Council)