The US has not had an ambassador to New Delhi since January 2021
By: Pramod Thomas
The US senate on Wednesday (15) the confirmed Eric Garcetti as the new ambassador to India, nominated by president Joe Biden.
The confirmation came after almost two years of opposition due to accusations of Garcetti mishandling workplace harassment complaints when he was the mayor of Los Angeles.
The vote was 52-42, with seven Republicans joining Democrats in supporting Garcetti, while three Democrats joined Republicans in voting against him.
Since January 2021, the US has not had an ambassador to New Delhi, which has created a void, especially in light of efforts to strengthen relations with India as a partner against China’s growing power and influence.
Senate majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who led a congressional delegation to India last month, expressed his satisfaction with the confirmation and highlighted the importance of the US-India relationship.
Biden is eager to deepen ties with India, the world’s largest democracy and a major US trading partner, as part of his bid to win what he has framed as a contest between free and autocratic societies.
There are an estimated 2.7 million Indian immigrants living in the US.
However, New Delhi has frustrated Washington by participating in military exercises with Russia and increasing purchases of the country’s crude oil, an important source of funding for the war in Ukraine. India is also a major purchaser of Russian military equipment.
Biden nominated Garcetti for the post in July 2021 but he was held up partly due to questions about his handling of allegations of sexual harassment against an aide when he was mayor. Garcetti has denied wrongdoing.
Los Angeles mayor from 2013 until a term limit pushed him from office last year, Garcetti is close to Biden and co-chaired his 2020 presidential campaign.