US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma will visit Mauritius today and tomorrow, then he will go to Comoros on May 30-31, and Seychelles on May 31-June 1. According to the US State Department, this is a demonstration of the U.S. elevating its partnerships across Africa and deepening engagement in the Indian Ocean Region. He will be the most senior State Department official to ever visit Comoros, and the most senior State Department official in over 20 years to visit Mauritius and Seychelles.
In Mauritius, Deputy Secretary Verma will meet Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and take part in the ground-breaking for a new $300 million U.S. Embassy compound, which reflects the continued growth of an already robust bilateral relationship. The Deputy Secretary and Prime Minister will discuss continued cooperation in advancing shared values and interests in the Indian Ocean Region, including improving maritime security and promoting sustainable development that supports tourism and the blue economy. The Deputy Secretary will also meet President Prithivirasing Roopun, Opposition Leader Xavier-Luc Duval, and other officials. While in Mauritius, he will also meet with Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Secretary General Salman Al Farisi. As a Dialogue Partner with IORA since November 2012, the United States has had a productive relationship with the organization. Deputy Secretary Verma will underscore the United States’ commitment to the Indian Ocean Region and our shared goals, especially in areas of climate resilience, protecting oceans, food security, and global health.
In Comoros, Deputy Secretary Verma will meet with President and AU Chairperson Azali Assoumani and other government officials to discuss our growing bilateral relationship, U.S. engagement in the region, and Comoros’s leadership of the African Union this year. The Deputy Secretary’s engagements will highlight five key areas where the United States and Comoros are making significant progress together: democracy and governance, development assistance and food security, security cooperation, economic and commercial engagement, and people-to-people ties. While in Moroni, he will open a revitalized American corner and engage with U.S. partners in Comoros.
In Seychelles, Deputy Secretary Verma will meet President Wavel Ramkalawan and discuss U.S. plans for increasing its diplomatic presence in-country to facilitate greater cooperation on shared priorities, especially maritime security, ocean conservation, fighting corruption, and advancing democratic norms. In addition to meeting Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde and Anti-Corruption Commissioner May de Silva, the Deputy Secretary will hold a roundtable discussion on democracy and free speech with Seychelles youth, some of whom formerly participated in exchange visits to the United States.
Indian American Richard Verma has an impressive resume
Richard Verma previously served as the American ambassador to India during the Obama era and as the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs. In addition, he currently oversees global public policy for Mastercard and serves as its chief legal officer. As the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Verma will direct, coordinate, and supervise State Department initiatives like international assistance and emergency response plans. Verma’s appointment is a significant achievement for the Indian American community and a milestone for diversity and inclusion in the US government.