The United States senate has confirmed a distinguished Indian American diplomat to be the next American ambassador to India.
By unanimous voice votes, the Senate approved former State Department official Richard Rahul Verma as U.S. envoy to New Delhi, replacing Nancy Powell, who resigned in March after a damaging dispute over the treatment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the United States.
Mr Verma, a lawyer by training, served as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs at the State Department in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011.
The United States sees India as a natural ally on a range of issues and a potential counterbalance to an increasingly assertive China in Asia and is eager to expand relations across the board, particularly in the security sphere.
Verma’s parents were originally from West Punjab but had moved east following the partition of India before migrating to the United States in the 1960’s after Verma senior received an academic scholarship.
His father, Dr. Kamal Dev Verma is said to have been the first literate person in the family and later became a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.
Mr Verma was born in 1969, the youngest of five children and grew up in Pennsylvania.
A lawyer by training, Mr Verma has enjoyed a distinguished career, first serving in the United States Air Force as a judge advocate before working as a lawyer and advisor to a string of politicians and campaign groups including the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.
He is also an author and currently sits on the boards of the Clinton Foundation, Human Rights First and the US National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.