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Obama Nominates Richard Verma as Next Ambassador to India

Richard Verma, former Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs, has been nominated by President Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to India. Susan Walsh / AP, file

President Obama said this week that he would be nominating former State Department official Richard Rahul Verma to become the next Ambassador to India.

Verma’s nomination was one of seven others announced by Obama to fill open administration posts.

“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,” Obama said in a statement.

If confirmed by Congress, Verma would become the first-ever Indian-American Ambassador to India. His nomination also comes after a year of strained relations between the United States and India, following the arrest of India's former Deputy Consul in New York, Devyani Khobragade. Her arrest, for charges of visa fraud related to her housekeeper's wages, outraged many Indians, who called Khobragade's treatment "despicable" and "barbaric."

Then-Ambassador Nancy Powell resigned in the aftermath in March 2014.

Verma, a former Washington, D.C. lawyer and assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs during Obama's first term, is also an Air Force veteran who served on active duty between 1994 and 1998.

His nomination comes just before the first American visit by newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will arrive in New York later this month.

 If his nomination is confirmed by Congress, Richard Verma would become the first-ever Indian-American Ambassador to India. U.S. Department of State

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