US-India relationship built on shared ideas and values, says top Biden administration official

Richard Verma also claimed that India's Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has become "the architect of modern US-India relations."
Image used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Pixabay)
Image used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Pixabay)

WASHINGTON: The US-India relationship is built on shared ideas and shared values, and top among those is a commitment to democracy and social justice, a top Biden Administration official has said.

Richard Verma, the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources - the highest ranking Indian-American ever in the US State Department, made the remarks on Saturday at an event at the Indian Embassy held to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of Indian culture and the India-US relationship.

The event at the Indian House was attended by top Indian-American officials from the Biden Administration and eminent Indian American community leaders from across the US.

Honouring the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Verma said the US-India relationship is built on shared ideas and shared values.

"Top among those is a commitment to democracy and social justice. Gandhi would write to President Roosevelt in 1942 that he had 'profited greatly by the writings of Thoreau and Emerson' and some years later, Dr.Martin Luther) King would write, 'It was Gandhi and (his) emphasis on love and non-violence that I discovered the method for social reform and that Gandhi's philosophy was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom'," Verma said.

"The US and India value system advocates for fairness and justice for all peoples. These values are the glue that holds our countries together. It was the reason that 60 years ago, my father chose this country to settle in, arriving, as he likes to remind us, with only $14 in his pocket and a bus ticket. The rest they say is history. For his kid to go on and serve as the US ambassador to the country of his roots and now serve as Deputy Secretary of State is the longest of long shots. But it is a very American story and it is a very Indian story too," he said.

"Ultimately, it is the stories of hard work and risk-taking of individuals. All of you (Indian Americans) here have actually done the hard work in building US-India ties and making it one of the most consequential relationships of this century. Do we have disagreements? You bet," he said.

"Will we have bumps in the road? Of course, but two close friends aligned with these shared values, bonded together by the great ideas of Gandhi King and so many others and solidified by all of your sacrifices. This is a partnership with staying power, with real impact and that will continue to have an outside influence in the world," Verma said.

He said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, a diplomat-turned-politician, is the architect of the modern India-US relationship.

Describing Jaishankar, who is currently on an official tour in the city, as an "incredibly talented external affairs minister", Verma said the top India diplomat, he can say, "is the architect of modern US-India relations."

"We would not be in the strong place that we are today, but for the external affairs minister leadership," said Verma, who served as US Ambassador to India under the Obama Administration and is the first-ever Indian American to be the US envoy to India.

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