Starting April 11th, India’s nearly 900 million voters will, in the world's largest election, select a new lower house of parliament and Prime Minister. Current PM Narendra Modi has been credited with strengthening India’s ties to the United States, furthering a partnership that has lasted into the Trump administration, despite India’s post-independence philosophy of nonalignment. A vibrant Indian-American community in the US has contributed to the bond between the two countries, allowing collaboration on trade, job creation, climate change, and security: all issues on the minds of current Indian voters. Belfer Center Senior Fellow and former United States Ambassador to India Richard Verma will discuss the ongoing election, the next chapter of U.S./India Relations, and how the relationship between these two nations can further develop to be a diplomatic success story.

Richard Verma is a Senior Fellow with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Vice Chairman and Partner at The Asia Group, a leading strategic and business advisory firm headquartered in Washington DC. He previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to India from 2014 to 2017, where he led one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions and championed historic progress in bilateral cooperation on defense, trade, and clean energy.

Ambassador Verma was previously the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, and also served for many years as the Senior National Security Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He was a member of the WMD and Terrorism Commission and a co-author of their landmark report, “World at Risk.” He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and his military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal.

In addition to his role at Belfer and The Asia Group, Ambassador Verma is a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. The Ambassador also co-chairs the Center for American Progress’ U.S.-India Task Force, which has charted an actionable bilateral agenda to deepen U.S.-India ties. He also serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, Malaria No More, Lehigh University, the MGM Public Policy Institute, Paladin Capital Strategic Advisory Group, and the T. Rowe Price corporate board.

Ambassador Verma is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award, the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, the Chief Justice John Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, and was ranked by India Abroad as one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans. He holds degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center (LLM), American University’s Washington College of Law (JD), and Lehigh University (BS).