Washington, Dec 3: Cutting across party lines, top US Senators have supported the nomination of Richard Rahul Verma, stating that the Indian-American is uniquely suited to be the next ambassador to India.
At Verma's confirmation hearing before the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, Senators from both Republican and Democratic parties enthusiastically supported his nomination for the top diplomatic position in New Delhi.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a rare appearance before the committee to introduce Verma during the hearing. "Rich Verma is somebody that's uniquely suited to be our ambassador to India. He is an expert on foreign policy, Southeast Asia. He served as assistant secretary of State for congressional affairs under Secretary Hillary Clinton," said Reid.
"He's a wonderful, wonderful, caring man with a great mind," he said. Reid said: "(Verma's) background will be extremely helpful to us in India. One of my boys, my next to youngest boy, his best friend growing up in high school was Verma, whose father was a math professor at University of Nevada-Las Vegas. So Verma is a name that I've known for a long, long time," he said.
The Senate Majority Leader said Richard is "very good at building consensus. He works across party lines as well as anyone I've ever seen." "His bipartisan approach coupled with his keen understanding of legislation helped us pass the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement," Reid said.
"He has an understanding of India.... And I say without any hyperbole, I say with complete confidence that there's no better choice could have been made, no more highly-qualified candidate for this important post than Rich Verma," he said. Republican Senator John McCain said that Verma will "work closely with the new government."
"I believe that you are assuming a post at a nation that may be the most important relationship between the US and India certainly in the future. And there are challenges, but I'm very optimistic about the new Prime Minister, many of the reforms that are being made."
Senator Tim Kaine said Verma has an extensive public service background in the State Department as a longtime national security adviser to Majority Leader Harry Reid, to other private firms.
"He began his public service career as a first lieutenant and captain in the US Air Force. Mr Verma, we congratulate you on the nomination and welcome you here today," Kaine said.