'Verma most capable, qualified to be US ambassador to India'

The nomination of Richard Rahul Verma as next US ambassador to India could be the catalyst to transform the Indo-US ties as he is the "most capable and qualified candidate" to head America's diplomatic mission in New Delhi, former Obama administration officials have said.

Washington: The nomination of Richard Rahul Verma as next US ambassador to India could be the catalyst to transform the Indo-US ties as he is the "most capable and qualified candidate" to head America's diplomatic mission in New Delhi, former Obama administration officials have said.

Highly appreciative of Verma's diplomatic skills, the officials including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believe that he brings to the table "a deep reservoir of experience" in every dimension of US national security policy.

In exclusive interviews to PTI, these top former Obama administration officials said Verma, who quietly played an important role in the Congressional passage of Civil Nuclear Deal while being at the Hill, has a vision for the Indo-US relationship.

Verma had advocated for strong Indo-US ties when in the Administration and recently had started a "India 2020" project at a top American-think tank -? Center for American Progress.

Verma has been nominated by Obama purely on his capabilities and diplomatic skills and not has been rewarded for any political or fund raising activities, they said.

They hoped he would easily sail through the Senate confirmation process.

"Rich (Verma) is an inspired choice to be President Obama's next ambassador to India. He knows, like the President knows, that our two nations are destined to be great partners," ex-Deputy Secretary of Defence Ash Carter told PTI.

"But he also knows that destiny can and must be hastened by the hard work of gifted people like him on both sides. At a key moment in the (India-US) relationship, Rich Verma's proven skill and dedication are just what is needed," said Carter.

Carter as the Deputy Secretary of Defence was instrumental in the path breaking Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), resulting in the two governments deciding on co-production and co-development of hi-tech military hardware.

"She (Hillary Clinton) is thrilled that he (Verma) has been nominated to be our next Ambassador to India," said Nick Merrill, spokesperson of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"The American and Indian people are fortunate to have such a skilled diplomat working to further deepen the partnership between our two countries," Merrill said. "Rich was an indispensable colleague of Secretary Clinton's and of the entire Department of State," he said.

Verma was the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at the US Department of State until March 2011. "He has a deep understanding of foreign policy, a rich respect for the culture and history of countries, the trust of America's highest leaders in both the Executive and Congressional Branches, and he knows how to get things done," Merrill said.

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