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January 19, 2017

Modi's leadership brought India, US closer; Obama worked hard for India's NSG bid

 

The outgoing US Ambassador Richard Verma, had some positive things to say about the US-India relations during President Obama's tenure.

In less than two days, Richard Verma will step down as the US ambassador to India. In a special episode of To The Point and his only farewell interview to television, the departing ambassador spoke to Karan Thapar of India Today. Verma shared his two-years' experience in India, his successes as well as the unfinished tasks, the journey that lay ahead, the challenges and how he feels the state of relationship between the US and India is as he steps down from ambassador's post.Verma stressed particularly on two big breakthroughs during his tenure that brought the two countries together - Clean energy and climate change deal and the improvement of India-US economic and trade relationship. The Paris climate agreement, said Verma, stood out as one of the signature global agreements India and the US were able to achieve together.
"If you were to ask President Obama today, how did we achieve Paris deal, he would say it is because of the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi bringing on a number of countries. His work together, closely with Prime Minister Modi..that was a breakthrough. No one thought this was possible to have the US and India to come together the way they did. Also, in this area, was our breakthrough in civil nuclear cooperation. It was a breakthrough that got past the liability issue," said Verma.

TOUGH LINE WITH PAKISTAN ON TERROR"The threat and the scourge of terror is one of our chief security threat of the day, confronting the United States, India and the people of Pakistan and the broader region. No one nation can stop it on its own. It's a collective response and takes law enforcement, intel, military, economic and social tools. We are working on all of that front. On specific regional issues, we have taken a very tough line with Pakistan over the need to shut down safe havens, hold the perpetrators accountable. We have been very tough and new restrictions put on the Haqqani network, LeT and JeM. We have worked with our Indian colleagues in United Nations to put additional sanctions on terrorist leaders," said Verma.

INCREDIBLE HONOUR"I never thought it was awkward. It's been an enormous sense of pride for me, particularly because I was able to travel back to Jalandhar in Punjab where my mother and grandmother were raised, or to DAV college where my father went to school. It wasn't that long ago that our family was here in this country, surviving every day like everyone else, uncertain of what the future might hold, but I also the impact they had on their community. I went to the government girls school where my grandmother taught at across from a slum area in Jalandhar. I went to the flat where my grandmother lived, where I went and stayed with her. We had no running water inside. We had one TV on the block. No refrigerator or a stove, other than an open fire pit in the kitchen. Those are my memories, and to come back 50 years later in this capacity, to represent the United States, represent the president, I know what a long shot that is," he said.
CLASSIC IMMIGRANT STORY "Mine is a classic immigrant story. I'm so proud of that. I also know I didn't get here on my own. I asked my dad, why did you leave India in 1963, you didn't have to go. I left because of you. I wanted you to have more opportunities and better future. They worked so hard there and here in India. For me to be able to come back is an incredible honour," said Verma.

 indiatoday

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