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Breakaway business group recruits former Indian-American Ambassador to its board

New Delhi: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma during a programme organised on Yoga Day at Rajpath in New Delhi, on June 21, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum formed by a group of leading American entrepreneurs and private sector executives who quit the U.S. – India Business Council, announced the addition of Richard Verma, the Obama administration’s Ambassador to India, to its Board Oct. 26. Recently, another top Indian-American, former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal, took over as head of the U.S.-India Business Council which is part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Ambassador Verma, the 25th U.S. Ambassador to India, brings a wealth of experience to his position on the Board, the USISPF said in a press release, noting Verma’s “impactful strides” in defense, trade and clean energy sectors during his tenure as ambassador during the Obama presidency. Verma is currently vice chair of the The Asia Group where he leads the consulting firm’s South Asia group. Verma is also a Centennial Fellow at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and co-chairs the U.S.-India Task Force at the Center for American Progress.

Verma oversaw 9 meetings between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi which led to – more than 100 new initiatives and more than 40 government-to-government dialogues, the release said. In addition, Verma was the first U.S. Ambassador to India to visit all Indian states during his time in the role.

U.S. ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma (R) interacts with women from the fishing community, whohave enrolled at a camp for the ongoing Unique Identification (UID) database drive, as U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (3rd R) looks on, during their visit at Koli fishing village in Mumbai February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Rafiq Maqbool/Pool

Prior to serving as Ambassador to India, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at the State Department. On Capitol Hill, he served for many years as the senior advisor to the Senate Majority Leader. He was also a National Security Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a member of the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism Commission, where he was a co-author of their landmark report, “World at Risk.” He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and his military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. Verma has also served in the private sector, as a partner in a major law firm, and at a Washington-based consulting firm.

“Rich Verma is one of the most profoundly influential individuals for U.S.-India relations, and we could not be more honored and excited to welcome him to the USISPF Board,” Mukesh Aghi, president of USISPF, is quoted saying in the release.

Ambassador Verma called the USISPF a “critical platform to advance commercial ties, adding,  “While serving as Ambassador to India, I saw first-hand the exciting work that U.S. companies are doing across India and in cooperation with domestic partners.”

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USISPF has offices in New York, Silicon Valley, Mumbai, and New Delhi.