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US ambassador to India visits Bhutan

Diplomacy: Visiting for the first time, the ambassador of the United States of America to India, Richard R Verma discussed with Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay areas of cooperation between the two countries.

The ambassador said, during a reception he hosted for the US fellowship alumni yesterday, that the purpose of his visit to Bhutan was to come and learn about some of the issues here and to also understand programmes like education, development and cultural conservations they administered from the Embassy in New Delhi.

Ambassador Verma, who called on Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay at the Gyalyong Tshogkhang yesterday, said that he had many important meetings with government officials, parliamentarians, and civil society, and he looks forward to coming back in the future.

“We talked about different areas such as people to people connections between the USA and Bhutan and how important these connections are,” Ambassador Verma said.

He also said that the prime minister talked about his priorities going forward and he also updated him on USA-India bilateral relations. “We also talked about the Pennsylvania connection as well because your prime minister went to Pittsburg University,” the ambassador said. “And we are going to meet again since it is the beginning of our discussion and not really end.”

During the meeting, Lyonchoen and Ambassador Verma shared their views on cooperating closely in sectors such as education, human resource development, hydropower, renewable energy sources, and tourism.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay conveyed that America’s foresight and friendship have contributed significantly in protecting what has been important to Bhutan: culture and environment. He also said that he held high regard for their support and goodwill in strengthening democracy in Bhutan.

Lyonchoen added that Bhutan shares a deep connection with America and that many Bhutanese have and continue to pursue their higher education in the USA.

Richard Verma is the 25th US ambassador to India. Ambassador Verma, who joined office in December last year, oversees one of the largest U.S. Missions in the world, including four consulates across India.

As a former Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Obama Administration, he led the State Department’s efforts on Capitol Hill and served as a senior member of Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s team.

Ambassador Verma previously worked in the Senate as the Senior National Security Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid.  He also worked in the House of Representatives for longtime Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee, Jack Murtha.  He is veteran of the US Air Force, where he served on active duty as a Judge Advocate.

 

By Rinzin Wangchuk

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