New US envoy to India Richard Rahul Verma: All you should know

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The US Senate has confirmed Richard Rahul Verma as President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next American ambassador to India.

New US envoy to India Richard Rahul Verma: All you should know
First Indian-American envoy in India

  • Verma, 46, is the first Indian-American envoy in New Delhi.
  • He succeeds Nancy Powell who resigned in March after a major diplomatic spat over the arrest and strip search of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York, last year.

How was Verma selected for the post?

  • Verma's name was approved by the Senate by a unanimous voice vote on Tuesday, signifying the bipartisan support for better India-US relations. 
  • He is expected to take up his position before Obama's visit to New Delhi as the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations.

Education and previous assignments

  • Verma graduated from Lehigh University (BS, Industrial Engineering), American University Washington College of Law (JD), and Georgetown University (LLM).
  • He served in the US Air Force, as an Air Force judge advocate.
  • Specialising in law, Verma is a former key aide to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
  • He has extensive experience in national security and nonproliferation issues.
  • He worked as senior national security adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and advised on a key commission on nonproliferation.
  • At present, Verma is a senior counsellor at Steptoe & Johnson law firm.
  • He is also the senior counsellor at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a business advisory company, led by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
  • He has served as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs at the State Department in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011.

Family background

  • Verma's parents immigrated from India to the US in the sixties when his father received an academic scholarship.
  • He is the fifth and youngest child of his parents.
  • His father Dr Kamal Dev Verma became a professor of English, specialising in Indian Literature, at the University of Pittsburgh for 40 years.
  • His late mother, Savitri Verma, was a special needs school teacher.
  • His wife Pinky Verma is an attorney and the couple has three kids.

What did Verma say about his confirmation?

  • At his confirmation hearing last week, Verma told the Senate Foreign Relations committee that Obama's "historic visit to India in January" will build on "Modi's highly successful visit to the United States this past September."
  • "There is no question that this is a defining and exciting time in the US-India relationship," he said.

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