Washington: US President Barack Obama has named Nancy Powell, a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to Pakistan and to Nepal, to be the next ambassador to India and fill a half-year vacancy. Powell, who holds the rank of career ambassador, a prestigious title given only to select career diplomats based on their service, takes the place of Timothy J Roemer, a political appointee who resigned in June.

In a statement announcing Powell's appointment and a separate appointee, Obama said: “These fine public servants both bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles.”

“Our nation will be well-served by these individuals, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Apart from Pakistan and Nepal, Powell, who joined the foreign service in 1977 after teaching school in Dayton, Iowa, has also served as ambassador to Ghana and Uganda.

Her stint in Pakistan between 2002-2004 came as the US was first seeking Islamabad's cooperation in fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Her other overseas assignments included service in New Delhi, Calcutta, Ottawa, Kathmandu, Islamabad, Lome, and Dhaka.

Her Washington assignments have included: Refugee Assistance Officer, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Activities, and the National Intelligence Officer for South Asia at the National Intelligence Council.

She's currently serving as director general of the foreign service and director of human resources at the State Department. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa.

The Senate must confirm Powell's appointment.