Trump administration has recognised India as a major foreign policy priority: Richard Verma

“The overall relationship trajectory between the two has been pretty good,” Verma said.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

The US Administration under President Donald Trump has recognized India as a foremost foreign policy priority, said Richard Rahul Verma, the former US Ambassador to India, mentioning that the credit for robust relations between the two countries goes to former US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

“I do think India has been recognized as a major foreign policy priority (in the Trump Administration) and one that from the president on down, people are vested in, and that’s very encouraging,” Verma told PTI. 

“The overall relationship trajectory between the two has been pretty good,” he said. 

“As you know, in the last two to three years of the Obama administration we made a lot of progress and all the credit goes to Prime Minister Modi and (former) President Obama. We were doing things in so many different areas, so many different dialogues, but with real tangible results. I think for people in both countries and it was our hope that progress would continue,” Verma said. 

The former diplomat played a major role in strengthening the ties between the US and India during his term in the Obama Administration. 

He termed the US relations with India as single most significant in this century. 

“To our collective future, this kind of ties really matters and really takes a lot of energy and time,” he added. 

The former envoy also thinks that the meeting in June between President Trump and PM Modi was good. 

Verma further said he would love to see that the two nations developing their ties with regards to investment in defence sector. 

"It is vital that India and the US have the kind of defence ties and that the two nations together develop the advanced technologies which allow India to have an edge in the contested areas, whether it is on land, on the sea, in air, in cyberspace or outer space. I think it is truly important for India to have these capabilities,” he said. 

The former US Ambassador also put emphasis on enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries to the goal of $500 billion. 

Replying to a question on the issue of H-1B visas, he said, “The US probably issued over a million visas to Indian nationals last year, 60,000 of them were H1Bs. So we have to keep this in perspective even though India gets the lion’s share of H1B visas, the number of those visas is still fairly small,” he said. 

Currently, Verma is Vice Chairman at The Asia Group LLC (TAG), a strategy and capital advisory group headquartered in Washington DC.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Aug 10, 2017 12:00 IST