Highly appreciative of Verma's diplomatic skills, the officials including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believe that he brings to the table 'a deep reservoir of experience' in every dimension of US national security policy.

In an interview, these top former Obama administration officials said Verma, who quietly played an important role in the Congressional passage of Civil Nuclear Deal while being at the Hill, has a vision for the Indo-US relationship.

Verma had advocated for strong Indo-US ties when in the Administration and recently had started a 'India 2020' project at a top American-think tank, Center for American Progress.

Verma has been nominated by Obama purely on his capabilities and diplomatic skills and not has been rewarded for any political or fund raising activities, they said.

They hoped he would easily sail through the Senate confirmation process.
"Rich (Verma) is an inspired choice to be President Obama's next ambassador to India. He knows, like the President knows, that our two nations are destined to be great partners," ex-Deputy Secretary of Defence Ash Carter said.

"But he also knows that destiny can and must be hastened by the hard work of gifted people like him on both sides. At a key moment in the (India-US) relationship, Rich Verma's proven skill and dedication are just what is needed," said Carter.

Carter as the Deputy Secretary of Defence was instrumental in the path breaking Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), resulting in the two governments deciding on co-production and co-development of hi-tech military hardware.

"She (Hillary Clinton) is thrilled that he (Verma) has been nominated to be our next Ambassador to India," said Nick Merrill, spokesperson of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"The American and Indian people are fortunate to have such a skilled diplomat working to further deepen the partnership between our two countries," Merrill said.
"Rich was an indispensable colleague of Secretary Clinton's and of the entire Department of State," he said.

Verma was the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at US Department of State until March 2011.
"He has a deep understanding of foreign policy, a rich respect for the culture and history of countries, the trust of America's highest leaders in both the Executive and Congressional Branches, and he knows how to get things done," Merrill said.
Jake Sullivan, who until 2014 served as national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, said: "I think Rich Verma is an inspired choice by the President."

"This (India-US) relationship needs a steward who can navigate both Delhi and Washington, and who can inspire the broader public’s in both countries. I am confident you will find that Rich is precisely that steward. Simply put, he's the best choice," said Sullivan.

Personally 'very bullish' on Indo-US relationship, Kurt Campbell, former assistant secretary of state East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said it is a very critical time for bilateral ties.

Having known Verma for two decades, Campbell said the ambassador-nominee has served in some of the most important positions in US government in the Capitol Hill, in the White House, and the State Department.

"He is hard working, deeply sincere. He is a terrific choice. He would be an excellent and a distinguished ambassador," Campbell said.

Thomas R Nides, the former Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, said: "This is a spectacular decision. Because, he has all the qualities to represent US in a way that is not only respectful of our government, but also very respectful to the people of India."

Being the first Indian-American to be appointed to this important diplomatic position, only enhances Verma's role and is extremely helpful in strengthening bilateral ties.

"He understand the culture of India, understands the historical nature of our relationship," Nides said.

Former Pentagon officials have been impressed by skills of Verma. People close to Admiral (rtd) Mike Mullen, said the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was very impressed by his skills and background.

"He (Mullen) thinks that he (Verma) is the best person to serve in this job (at this point of time)," said a person close to Mullen.
"Rich is extremely well regarded and respected in foreign policy circle in Washington, not just in the White House, but Congress as well where he spent significant part of his career, working as a senior foreign policy advisor," said Stephen Biegun, who was national security advisor to former
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Having close worked with Verma at the National Security Council of the White House in Bush administration, Biegun asserted that his nomination has nothing to do with he being an Indian-American.

"He is selected because he is the most capable and qualified candidates for the position today," he said.

Observing that Verma played a key role in the passage of the India US civilian nuclear deal, Biegun said this was based on his conviction that "this deal was in the best national security interest" of America. "This was not favoritism towards India," he said.

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