Richard Verma

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Richard Verma
Richard Verma.jpg
United States Ambassador to India
In office
January 16, 2015 – January 20, 2017
President Barack Obama
Deputy MaryKay L. Carlson
Preceded by Kathleen Stephens (Acting)
Succeeded by MaryKay L. Carlson (Acting)
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
In office
April 6, 2009 – March 14, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Matthew Reynolds
Succeeded by Joseph Macmanus (Acting)
Personal details
Born Richard Rahul Verma
(1968-11-27) November 27, 1968 (age 48)
Edmonton, Canada
Spouse(s) Melineh Verma
Alma mater Lehigh University
American University
Georgetown University

Richard Rahul Verma (born November 27, 1968) is an American diplomat and the former United States Ambassador to India from 2015 to 2017.[1] Verma was previously nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, a position he held until March 2011.[2] Verma began his career as a lawyer with extensive experience in national security and nonproliferation issues.

Early life and education[edit]

Verma’s parents were born in India and lived through the Partition of India. Verma’s father became a professor of English, specializing in Indian Literature,[3] at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for 40 years and his late mother, Savitri, was a special needs school teacher. Richard, the youngest of their five children growing up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, attended public school in the Westmont Hilltop School District.[4] Verma graduated from Lehigh University (BS, Industrial Engineering), American University Washington College of Law (JD), and Georgetown University (LLM). At Lehigh, Verma was in ROTC, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and his senior class president.


Verma began his career in the U.S. Air Force as an Air Force judge advocate. Verma subsequently worked as a lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson until he became a senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from 2002 to 2007.[5] In 2007, he was named by the organization "India Abroad" as one of the 50 most influential Indian-Americans. [6]In 2008, he was a member of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism, and co-authored World at Risk (2008).[7]

He joined the State Department in 2007 as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. After leaving the State Department in 2011, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of Steptoe & Johnson as a senior counselor.[8] He also served as a member of the Secretary of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board.[9]

US Ambassador to India[edit]

In September 2014 Obama nominated Verma as the next U.S. Ambassador to India.[10] On December 4, 2014, the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations voted to forward Verma's nomination to the full Senate. On December 9, 2014, the U.S. Senate confirmed Verma in a voice vote.[11] Verma presented his credentials to President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 16, 2015. [12]

Verma was the first person of Indian descent to hold the position.[13]


Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of Verma's family in New Delhi.

Verma is married to Melineh Verma, an attorney. Prior to relocating to New Delhi, both lived in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. They have six-year-old twins and a nine-year-old daughter.[4]


  1. ^ Revesz, Rachel (January 20, 2017). "Donald Trump has fired all foreign US ambassadors with nobody to replace them". The Independent. Retrieved January 20, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Verma, Richard R". 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  3. ^ The Indian Imagination: Critical Essays on Indian Writing in English, K.D. Verma,Palgrave Macmillan, Jun 3, 2000
  4. ^ a b Obama names Richard Verma as new US envoy to India on rediff
  5. ^ "Decision Makers - Richard Verma - National Journal Online". Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  6. ^ Pfitzer, Kurt (December 23, 2014). "A NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR TO INDIA". 
  7. ^ Verma, Richard; Graham, Bob; Talent, Jim; Allison, Graham; Roemer, Tim; Sherman, Wendy (December 3, 2008). World at Risk: The Report of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (2008 ed.). Vintage. p. 132. ISBN 0307473260. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Profile at Steptoe & Johnson
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Obama nominates Indian-American as ambassador to India". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Rich Verma confirmed as US ambassador to India". Hindustan Times. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Matthew Reynolds
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
Succeeded by
Joseph Macmanus
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Kathleen Stephens
United States Ambassador to India