The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved former Democratic congressman Timothy Roemer to be the new ambassador to India, setting up a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
The panel approved President Barack Obama's nominee as ambassador to New Delhi by Wednesday.
Roemer, once seen as in the running to head the CIA, served on the blue-ribbon commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the US and on a key committee to prevent nuclear proliferation.
Roemer was a member of House of Representatives from Indiana from 1991 to 2003 and his endorsement helped Obama become the first Democrat to carry the Midwestern state in 44 years.
The 52-year-old former lawmaker holds a doctorate degree in government and now heads the Centre for National Policy, a Washington think-tank.