Colombo: Indian-American Atul Keshap, the new US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, today presented his credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena, marking the official begining of his tenure here.
Keshap, a career diplomat with the US Department of State, is the second Indian-origin diplomat posted to the region after Richard Rahul Verma, the US envoy to India.
Both Keshap and Verma trace their origins to Punjab.
44-year-old Keshap has spent much of his career focusing on South Asia, including Sri Lanka, according to a statement by the US embassy in Colombo.
Keshap’s father, Keshap Chander Sen, was a UN development economist who worked in Nigeria where Keshap was born in June, 1971.
His mother, Zoe Calvert, had been in the US Foreign Service when she met and married Sen in London. She had also served at the US embassy in India.
Recently, Keshap was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in Washington DC, working closely with a strategic region of almost 1.7 billion people and over USD 2 trillion in economic output.
His other overseas postings have included work at the US Embassies in New Delhi, India; Rabat, Morocco; and Conakry, Guinea.
“I have travelled to Sri Lanka many times in my career, and every time I have been struck by the incredible natural beauty of these islands, and tremendous hospitality and warmth of the people who live there,” he said during his official swearing in ceremony in Washington DC on August 9.