US redoubling efforts on India ties: Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma

Lauding the ties between the two nations, the United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Richard Verma, has said that he has really never seen the India-US relationship as strong, robust, and diverse as it is today.

"I would just say we are actually redoubling our efforts on the US-India relationship and you see that in the number of activities and just the way the President talks about the relationship. And of course, the state visit last year," Verma said in an interview to ANI.

The former US Amabassador to India said that the two countries have interesting initiatives coming up as well.

"I'm here because I wanted to let people know I've really never seen the relationship as strong and robust, as diverse as it is today. I just look at the number of bilateral dialogues we have coming up, the number of really interesting initiatives coming up from different areas in the defence area, from emerging technologies to clean energy, health, and so much more," Verma said.

Reminiscing about former President Bill Clinton's visit to India in 2000, Verma described it as the "starting point" of the relationship gains between India and the US.

He said, "We've broken every record that we keep in terms of trade and defence and people-to-people ties, and visas issued. That will continue, election year or not an election year. We don't have the luxury of kind of not engaging with the rest of the world...And I think this relationship is too important."

"I'd also say this relationship has seen gains. Really, I use the year 2000 as the starting point when President Clinton came. Because before that, we had a up and down history, as I think most people know. But if I look at the last 24 years, you know, start of this century with that visit, we've had sustained gains in every category. And we've had it through Republican and Democratic administrations. We've had it through two parties here," he added.

Verma said that despite elections in the US, the robust partnership between the nations will continue and the work will continue in full momentum.

"And so elections are super important. But I think the relationship has a certain durability to it. And that will continue. And so we're excited about the direction of the relationship, regardless of what might be happening in either country. I'm going to come to what all we are doing now, India and the US," he said.

Verma, who was also the US' Ambassador to India from 2014-2017, also put the spotlight on the brief given to him by then-President Barack Obama, when he was sent here to India.

"The brief from President Obama was to go out and continue to build and deepen this relationship. He was a huge believer in it," he said.
"But I can go back to when I was a Senate staffer in the Senate Leadership Office, and there was a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee named Joe Biden from Delaware, who in the year 2002 said if the US and India are the closest friends and partners in the year 2020, the world will be a safer and more prosperous place. Joe Biden had that vision over 20 years ago. And again, I've worked on this relationship for a long time," he added.


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