US President-elect Joe Biden, continuing to fill out top posts to align with a diverse country’s shifting demographics, on Friday appointed to his national security council “incredibly accomplished” Indian Americans who will serve under National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Tarun Chhabra, a first-generation American and a graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School, will serve as Senior Director for Technology and National Security. Sumona Guha, a graduate of Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University, has been appointed as Senior Director for South Asia and former journalist Shanthi Kalathil will be Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights.
The Biden – Harris transition team sent out brief profiles of the new appointees. Below are excerpts on the three latest Indian American choices.
Tarun Chhabra is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. He was previously a Fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House.
During the Obama-Biden administration, Chhabra served on the National Security Council staff as Director for Strategic Planning and Director for Human Rights and National Security Issues, and at the Pentagon as a speechwriter to the Secretary of Defence.
Sumona Guha was co-chair of the South Asia foreign policy working group on the Biden-Harris campaign, and serves on the transition’s State Department Agency Review Team. Guha is Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group.
Previously, she served in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer and later, on the Secretary of State’s policy planning staff where she focused on South Asia. During the Obama-Biden administration, she was Special Advisor for national security affairs to Vice President Biden.
Shanthi Kalathil is currently senior director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy, where her work focuses on emerging challenges to democracy.
Previously in her career, she served as a senior democracy fellow at the US Agency for International Development, an associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Hong Kong-based reporter for the Asian Wall Street Journal, and an advisor to international affairs organisations.
Kalathil is the co-author of Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule. Originally from California, Kalathil is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics and Political Science.