Madam Chair and Members of the Committee,
I am very honored to have the opportunity to appear before you as President Obama’s nominee to serve as the United States Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam. I deeply appreciate the trust and confidence that the President and Secretary Clinton have placed in me. If confirmed by the Senate, I will work closely with the Committee and others in the Congress to advance American interests in Brunei Darussalam.
I would like to acknowledge the presence of my wife of 25 years, Sangeeta, who has given our five-year-old daughter Sonali and me great love and support.
I believe I have developed over 25 years in the Foreign Service the experience and the leadership skills needed to represent the United States in Brunei. I am currently the Director in the State Department's Office of Mainland Southeast Asia. In previous assignments, I have served as Deputy Chief of Mission, and for over a year Chargé d'Affaires, at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, and as Political Minister Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. I understand the importance of building strong partnerships in Asia to safeguard the well-being and safety of the American people.
Located on the northwest coast of the Island of Borneo and astride the sea lanes of the South China Sea, Brunei is one of our key Asian partners and friends. Brunei is a reliable exporter of oil and gas, a responsible voice among majority Muslim nations, and a source of stability in Southeast Asia. Brunei plays an important role in organizations including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The United States-Brunei relationship provides important benefits to both countries in a number of areas including economics and trade, law enforcement and military-to-military cooperation, environmental protection, and people-to-people exchanges.
As the people of Brunei address the challenges of the future, they can count on the friendship of the United States. The strong bonds between our two countries are based on mutual respect and decades of working together to make the future brighter for our citizens. We stand by that friendship and are confident that the strong, enduring bonds between our nations will continue to strengthen. If confirmed, I will work hard to enhance and broaden our relationship with Brunei.
Thank you again for considering my nomination, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have.