President Barack Obama has named the US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, to replace Richard Boucher as the assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs dealing with India and Pakistan.
In announcing his nomination by Obama, the White House noted Blake was also deputy chief of mission at the US Mission in New Delhi from 2003 to 2006.
If approved by the Senate, Blake will also deal with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
A veteran diplomat, Blake as ambassador to Colombo and the Maldives, has urged Sri Lankan officials to let civilians leave a safe zone where they are trapped with Tamil Tiger rebels waging a last stand in a 26-year civil war.
A foreign service officer since 1985, Blake has also served at the US embassies in Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt. He also has held a number of positions at the State Department in Washington.
Blake earned a bachelor of arts from Harvard College in 1980 and a masters in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 1984.