President Obama Nominates Inner Circle Democrat as Ambassador to India Before Modi Visit

Richard Rahul Verma

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Washington, DC – The White House on Thursday nominated Richard Rahul Verma, a former foreign policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid and a first ambassador nominee of Indian origin to Delhi.

Commenting on the nomination of Verma along with other official nominations for key posts, President Barack Obama said, “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.”

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, welcomed the announcement of Verma to serve as US Ambassador to India:

“With over two decades of senior foreign policy experience, Rich Verma is a skilled and accomplished professional who will make an excellent ambassador to India. From his time serving in the Air Force to high-ranking positions in government, Rich brings with him a wealth of experience. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Rich for many years and I deeply value his expertise and judgment,” said Crowley in a statement, adding, “He is committed to building the US-India relationship, has access to the highest levels of the White House, and is exactly who we need at the helm as we look to further strengthen US-India relations. I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

Verma would replace Nancy Powell, who resigned her post earlier this year after an uproar over the treatment of an Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested and strip searched in New York, amid accusations of visa fraud and underpayments to her housekeeper.

The newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not happy with Powell over the issue according to Indian sources and political pundits are hoping the nomination of an ambassador candidate with close ties to Obama will serve as a diplomatic olive branch. Although confirmation by the Senate might take months, the nomination comes ahead of a visit from Prime Minister Modi, who is scheduled to be in Washington later thus month (September 29-30).

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