Nisha Desai Biswal was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs on October 21, 2013. She oversees U.S. foreign policy and relations in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
During her tenure, the United States has focused on strengthening bilateral and regional relationships to enhance the security, stability, and prosperity of South and Central Asia. Under her leadership the United States has supported economic development and encouraged increased regional connectivity within South and Central Asia as part of the U.S. re-balance to Asia. From India to Kazakhstan the region’s emerging economies can drive growth and deliver sustained benefits to the peoples of the region. She has led the annual bilateral consultations with Central Asia for the United States as well as deepening ties with South Asian nations.
Biswal’s career in the executive and legislative branches and in non-governmental organizations has focused on the link between human security and national security. Specifically, she prioritizes ensuring that our diplomatic and development efforts in the region are sustainable through a focus on people, and not just governments. Previously, Ms. Biswal served from September 2010 as Assistant Administrator for Asia at USAID, where she oversaw $1.2 billion in assistance to 22 nations. In the House of Representatives, Biswal served as the majority clerk for the House Appropriations Committee Foreign Operations Subcommittee (HACFO) and as professional staff in the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), where she was responsible for South Asia. In addition to her government service, Ms. Biswal led public policy at InterAction and worked at the American Red Cross as an international delegate in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.