US nominee for South Asia post sees strong Indian economy

WASHINGTON, September 12, 2013 (AFP) – The nominee to be the top US diplomat for South Asia said Thursday that India’s economy remained strong despite recent concerns, and that further liberalization would strengthen relations. Biswal would replace Robert Blake, a former US ambassador to Sri Lanka who frequently urged the island to provide greater accountability after the bloody finale of its civil war in 2009.

“We believe that if Sri Lanka does not address (this) through its own internal processes, that there will be increasing call for international processes to address these issues,” Biswal said.

Biswal also pledged to work with Bangladesh to improve labor standards after a factory complex crumbled in April, killing more than 1,100 people.

Biswal said Bangladesh has made progress but “there is still a long ways to go.” Nisha Desai Biswal, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, pledged to keep up a two-decade push to build ties between India and the United States.

“Despite the concerns that are currently in place, I think the fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong and sound,” Biswal told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in her c