67-year-old Powell, who assumed charge as US Ambassador in April, 2012, had announced ending of her tenure in India in March this year.
Stephens will serve as the charge until a new permanent ambassador is nominated and confirmed by US Senate. President Barack Obama has not yet nominated anyone for this important diplomatic posting.
Stephens, a career foreign service officer, is expected to arrive in New Delhi early June. She was US ambassador to South Korea from 2008 to 2011 and previously served in senior positions in Washington, Asia and Europe.

Normally an envoy’s return would not be much of news but analysts have linked Nancy Powell's abrupt announcement of retirement after only two years in the job to her perceived failure to read the writing on the wall.

Powell is apparently blamed for failing to contain Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade affair and reaching out too late to Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi following his emergence on the national scene even as America's European partners were making overtures to the Bharatiya Janata Party leader.

After shunning him for over a decade, US is warming up to Modi with a fresh invitation to visit Washington. Modi’s US visa was revoked in 2005 over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.


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