The US Ambassador-designate, Eric Garcetti arrived in India on Tuesday (11) evening, more than two years after the departure of the previous US envoy Kenneth Juster when Joe Biden became president.
As a close associate of Biden, Garcetti was confirmed for the position by the US Senate about a month ago.
Garcetti was nominated for the prestigious role of Ambassador to India more than two years ago, but his confirmation was delayed by the Senate due to concerns raised by some lawmakers.
They alleged that, as the former mayor of Los Angeles, Garcetti had not taken adequate steps to address allegations of sexual harassment and assault against one of his aides.
“Namaste, Ambassador-Designate Eric Garcetti! We’re thrilled to welcome you to #IncredibleIndia and work with you to build even stronger ties between our two great nations,” the US Embassy in India tweeted.
The Embassy has been without an ambassador since January 2021, perhaps the longest such stretch in the history of US-India relations.
Juster, the last US envoy to New Delhi, stepped down in January 2021 after Biden became the US president.
Garcetti is known as a committed public servant, educator, and diplomat. He was confirmed in a bipartisan vote as the 25th US Ambassador to India on March 15.
After serving 12 years as a Los Angeles city council member, Garcetti was elected as the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles in 2013.
He was then the youngest mayor in Los Angeles history, and was re-elected in 2017 with the widest margin ever recorded in the city.
Garcetti also served as a naval officer in the reserve component for 12 years and was selected as Rockefeller Next Generation Leadership Fellow, an inaugural Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society, a Young Fellow of the French-American Foundation, a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and a Reboot Fellow.
In 2005, he was awarded the New Frontier Award given each year by the Kennedy family and Kennedy Library to a young elected official who embodies President Kennedy’s vision of service.
Garcetti earned a BA degree at Columbia College, Columbia University as a John Jay Scholar.
Garcetti studied Hindi and Indian culture and history while at Columbia and went on to earn a Master’s degree at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. After graduating, Garcetti was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, studying at The Queen’s College, Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
While in England, he met his now-wife Amy Elaine Wakeland, who was a fellow member of his Rhodes Scholar class.