Biden nominates former US Ambassador to top State Department position

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Former US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma during Diwali celebrations on October 24, 2022 in the East Room at the White House in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

President Joe Biden has nominated former US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, to the post of Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources at the State Department.

If confirmed by the Senate, Verma, who served as 25th US Ambassador to India in New Delhi from 2015-2017, and widely credited for deepening US-India bilateral engagement, will be the highest ranking Indian American diplomat in the State Department. Verma who’s currently the Chief Legal Officer and Global Public Policy Head at Mastercard, also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs from 2009-2011, in the Obama administration.

“Earlier in his career, he [Verma] was National Security Advisor to United States Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) while he was Democratic Whip, Minority Leader and then Majority Leader of the United States Senate,” a White House statement announcing his nomination said. “He has served as Vice Chairman of The Asia Group, Partner and Senior Counselor at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and Senior Counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where he served on active duty as a Judge Advocate. He earned a B.S. at Lehigh University, a J.D. cum laude at American University, an LL.M. with distinction at Georgetown University Law Center, and a Ph.D. at Georgetown University.”

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On October 24th, Verma, who attended the White House Diwali Party, told News India Times, “It’s a great community event. Thank you to the President, Vice President, and First Lady for bringing us all together and recognizing the importance of this holiday and the importance of unity in our country.” Verma is widely

Verma is affiliated with several boards, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Lehigh University. “Ambassador Verma oversaw one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions in the world, including four consulates with staff from nearly every agency in the U.S. Government. During his tenure, he championed historic progress in U.S.-India relations, with critical evolutions to bilateral cooperation in defense, trade, and clean energy,” the NED website noted.

It further said, “The Ambassador also oversaw an unprecedented nine meetings between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi – leading to over 100 new initiatives and more than 40 government-to-government dialogues.”

Verma, is also a member of Indiaspora, a network of global Indian origin leaders from various backgrounds committed to inspiring the diaspora in community engagement, and social change. About Verma, the Indiaspora website says, “Rich brings over 25 years of international experience across senior levels of business, law, diplomacy, and the military…”

“In nominating Rich to this very senior State Department role, President Biden and Secretary Blinken have made an inspired choice,” said Sanjeev Joshipura, Executive Director of Indiaspora. “Given his significant experience in the executive and legislative branches of government, his critical diplomatic vantage point as the former U.S. Ambassador to India, and his international private sector leadership background, Rich is the ideal candidate to serve the country in the top echelons of the State Department. Equally importantly, he possesses the character, temperament and judgment to serve in this capacity.”

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