World

Richard Verma to quit as US envoy before Trump takes charge

Richard Verma to quit as US envoy before Trump takes charge

Washington: US Ambassador Richard Rahul Verma, a political appointee by Obama Administration and the first Indian-American to hold the post, is set to demit office before January 20 when Republican Donald Trump takes over as American President.

48-year-old Verma, who played a quiet but key role in deepening Indo-US ties, will quit before the President-elect assumes charge as his team said the envoys, who are political appointees, will not be given any “grace period” beyond Trump’s inauguration day.

However, there is a possibility that Verma may stay on here in private capacity for few more months so that his children can complete their courses in school in the current academic year.

Sources said Verma will quit the post before Trump’s inauguration on January 20. Verma had played a key role in the Congressional passage of the civil nuclear deal and is a strong advocate of closer Indo-US ties.

Breaking from tradition, Trump’s transition team has decided not to give any grace period beyond inauguration day to US envoys who are political appointees of President Barack Obama.

The unusual decision by the transition team could also mean that some of the top US embassies around the world will be left without an ambassador for months, as Trump replaces them with new appointments.

In January, 2015, Verma had assumed charge as the 25th American Ambassador to India where the US has one of its largest missions in the world.

Verma had succeeded Nancy Powell, who resigned in March 2014 in the backdrop of a diplomatic row over the treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the US.

Verma, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, is the first ever Indian-American to be appointed as US envoy to India and his tenure saw an upward swing in Indo-US ties which were somehow marred by the Khobragade issue that had escalated into a full-blown diplomatic spat between the two contries.

Verma is a veteran of the US Air Force, where he served on active duty as a Judge Advocate.