U.S. Ambassador to India speaks at VCU

Photo by: Pilar Curtis
Photo by: Pilar Curtis
Photo by: Pilar Curtis

Joe Johnson
Contributing Writer

With lighthearted humor and personal family anecdotes, U.S. ambassador to India Richard Verma illustrated aspects of India’s rich history and ongoing partnership with the U.S. to the students, staff and public in attendance at the meeting.

Verma began by discussing his family’s journey during mass immigration during the partition of India and Pakistan.

“In the partition of India that year, my grandmother and mother would undergo a difficult journey to resettle and rebuild their lives,” Verma said. “This theme of starting over is one my mother would experience again when she came to the U.S. many years later.”

Photo by: Pilar Curtis
Photo by: Pilar Curtis

Verma mentioned topics such as joint military operations, space exploration and cooperative medical advances and described the U.S. and indian defence partnerships as “one of the most comprehensive and exciting security partnerships of our time.”

Verma made it clear that the successful U.S.-India relationship is due to people rather than political events.

“I want to talk about the people that make up this relationship and why we are having such a good kind of experience in US-India relations,” Verma said. “One of the theories in this case has a lot to do with many of you sitting in this room who have worked pretty hard to make this relationship work.”

Before becoming the 25th U.S. ambassador to India in 2014, Verma graduated from American University followed by Georgetown University with a JD and LLM, respectively. The ambassador has been lawyer in the areas of nonproliferation, national security and international law, in addition to receiving the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award and has been ranked by India Abroad as one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans.

Verma is the fourth speaker to address the Wilder School’s India Chair in Democracy and Civil Society, initiated in 2011.


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