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Biden appoints Richard Verma to top State Department position

Washington, Dec 24 (IANS) US President Joe Biden has nominated Indian-American Richard Verma, a former ambassador to India, as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, the White House said in an announcement on Friday.

The position is equivalent to minister of state in India and marks a new milestone for Indian-Americans as he is the first member of the community to serve at this level of seniority in the State Department.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be his boss, whom he will serve as principal advisor on overall supervision and direction of resource allocation and management activities of the department.

Verma will have to be confirmed by the US Senate, which may not be a problem because he has been confirmed twice before by the chamber.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Verma, who served in the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs before being dispatched by President Barack Obama to India as his ambassador. He is currently serving as Chief Legal Officer and Head of Global Public Policy at Mastercard.

Verma served as a congressional aide earlier and is a veteran of the US Air Force, where he served on active duty as a judge advocate. He earned a B.S. at Lehigh University, a J.D. cum laude at American University, an LL.M. with distinction at Georgetown University Law Center, and a Ph.D. at Georgetown University.

Verma joins a growing band of Indian-Americans in the Biden administration, which stands at more than 130, according to one count.

Those at senior levels include Vice President Kamala Harris, White House Medical Czar Ashish Jha, Senior Advisor Neera Tanden and Chief of Presidential Personnel Gautam Raghavan.

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