Alum confirmed as ambassador to India

Andy Dolan

David Campbell Mulford, Lawrence class of 1959, became the United States’ ambassador to India after being confirmed by a voice vote of the U.S. Senate last December.Bush nominated Mulford last November to be Robert Blackwill’s successor to the position. Blackwill joined the National Security Council after a two-year term as ambassador.

Mulford’s official title is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to India.

Mulford currently serves as Chairman International and Member of the Executive Board for Credit Suisse First Boston in London, England. He previously served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the same company.

He had previously served as Undersecretary for International Affairs for the Reagan and first Bush administrations.

According to TajaNews.com, Mulford’s appointment “could mean that the Bush Administration is shifting from the political aspects of the Indo-American relationship which was prominent during the stint of Robert Blackwill, to highlighting the economic aspects, though the political side of the relationship will continue to get considerable attention.”

Aditi Phadnis notes this as well regarding Mulford’s appointment saying, “[M]any feel this will take the focus away from the political relations between India and the US to emphasize on deepening economic relations.”

Phadnis notes this may not be a preferable approach, stating, “Mulford’s record in straightening out economic relations between the US and other countries — Argentina, for instance…is such that it might be best for India if Mulford were to concentrate on strengthening Indo-US political relations and leave the economy part well alone.”

He goes on to say that, “Mulford was assistant to Nicholas Brady, US Treasury secretary from 1988 to 1992, and was involved in evolving the Brady Plan that replaced the region’s commercial bank debt with tradable securities, reopened the international capital markets to Latin America and set the scene for the free market reforms of the 1990s. This was fine in theory, but Argentina’s lack of transparency and democracy led to deal-making, cronyism and default that only pushed the country deeper into debt.”

Economics will, however, clearly not be Mulford’s only concern according to some. Indiainfo.com notes, “During his confirmation hearing, [Mulford] made it clear that it will be realism to accept India as a nuclear weapon power.”

After leaving Lawrence, Mulford earned a master’s degree from Boston University and Ph.D. from Oxford University. In 1984, Lawrence awarded Mulford an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He has also written two books about Africa.

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