Richard Rahul Verma has been nominated as the next US ambassador to India, becoming the first Indian-American to be appointed for the top diplomatic position in Delhi days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the US.
45-year-old Mr Verma’s nomination was announced by President Barack Obama late on Thursday along with several other key administration appointments.
“I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” Mr Obama said in a statement.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr Verma, who earlier served as the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs and is now in the private sector, would be the first Indian-American to serve as the top US diplomat in New Delhi. The post in US embassy in New Delhi has been vacant since the resignation of the ambassador Nancy Powell, during whose stint Indo-US relations witnessed a bitter row over diplomatic privileges.
The US embassy in New Delhi is currently headed by a charge d’affaires, Kathleen Stephens.
Mr Verma, said to be a close confidant of the President and also of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, currently serves as senior counselor at Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Albright Stonebridge Group. He is also a senior national security fellow at the Centre for American Progress.
Previously, he was assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the department of state from 2009 to 2011 and partner at Steptoe and Johnson LLP from 2007 to 2009.
He was senior national security advisor, counsel and foreign policy advisor to the Senate majority leader Harry Reid from 2002 to 2007, and an associate at Steptoe & Johnson from 1998 to 2002.
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