New US Ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma arrives

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New Delhi, Jan 2: The new US Ambassador to India Richard Verma, who arrived here today, said he was looking forward to work with India on the shared goals of security, development and prosperity as he described the times as "exciting" for the ties.

46-year-old Verma, former Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, is the first ever Indian-American to be appointed as the top US envoy to India. [Richard Rahul Verma: All you should know]

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His arrival comes ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit later this month to attend Republic Day on January 26 as the Chief Guest.

"I am honoured to serve as US Ambassador to India at such an exciting time in our bilateral relationship. I look forward to meeting the Indian people and working together with the Indian government on our shared goals of security, development, and prosperity," Verma said in a release issued by the US embassy.

He will continue the US Mission's work in advancing the US-India strategic partnership, the release said. Verma has replaced Nancy Powell, who resigned in March 2014 in the backdrop of a diplomatic row over the treatment meted out to an Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested in the US on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid and released on a USD 250,000 bond in 2013.

The issue had escalated into a full-blown diplomatic spat between the US and India, which retaliated by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps. Kathleen Stephens was the charge d'affaires at the US embassy in Powell's absence until now.

PTI

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