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Nikki Haley sworn-in as new US envoy to UN

January 25, 2017 23:31 IST

Nikki Haley was on Wednesday sworn-in as America’s ambassador to the United Nations, scripting history to become the first from the influential Indian-American community to serve on a Cabinet rank position in any United States presidential administration.

The 45-year-old former South Carolina Governor Haley was sworn-in by Vice President Mike Pence.

Haley, a rising Republican star, was approved overwhelmingly by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday with wide bipartisan support, 96-4. She has replaced Samantha Power.

Haley turned in her resignation as South Carolina governor minutes after she was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s cabinet pick.

The two-term governor faced questions from Democrats over her lack of experience with global affairs but won plaudits from senators for her handling of prickly issues like Russia and UN actions toward Israel during her confirmation hearings.

She is the first woman to be confirmed to Trump’s Cabinet.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Haley is a proven leader who will be a ‘fierce advocate’ at the UN for American interests.

With this, Haley becomes the first Indian-American to serve in a presidential administration at a Cabinet level position.

While nominating her, Trump had said, “Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country.”

“She is also a proven deal-maker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage,” Trump had said.

Haley has already created history by becoming the first women Indian-American Governor of a US State.

After Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, she is only the second ever Indian-American to be elected as the Governor of a State.

Haley would now be replaced by Lt Gov Henry McMaster as governor.

Once a fierce critic of Trump, Haley in November was selected as the first woman and first minority to serve in the Trump Administration.

The daughter of Indian immigrants from Punjab, Haley had said she wouldn’t support one of Trump’s major campaign proposals -- to create a registry of Muslims in the US and a ban on Muslim immigration and travel -- but suggested the administration’s views had changed on the issue.

IMAGE: US Vice President Mike Pence, right, swears in Nikki Haley, left, as US Ambassador to the United Nations at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on Wednesday. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Lalit K Jha
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