Friday, March 31, 2023

Senate confirms Eric Garcetti as US Ambassador to India

Eric Garcetti, President Joe Biden’s close aide, will be the next US Ambassador to India after the Senate confirmed his nomination, ending a protracted hiatus of over two years to fill the key diplomatic position.
The Senate voted 52-42 to confirm the former Los Angeles mayor’s nomination on Wednesday. Garcetti, 52, lost the votes of three Democrats but convinced seven Republicans to cross the aisle, winning him the prestigious diplomatic posting. His nomination was pending before the US Congress since July 2021 when he was nominated by President Biden.
Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 13-8 in favour of his nomination.
“The relationship between India and the US is a strong one, and one of great strategic, economic, and cultural importance. Founded on shared values, supported by growing economic and trade ties, and strengthened by the Indian diaspora here in the US, this partnership continues to hold significant promise for the future,” said Senator Mark Warner, Co-Chair of Senate India Caucus. “As co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, I am glad that there will finally be a Senate-confirmed ambassador in New Delhi,” Warner said.
Garcetti’s nomination was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote during the last Congress as the ruling Democratic Party did not have enough support to get him through. When the Republican Party took control of the House this year, Senate Democrats pushed most legislation to the back burner and prioritised moving stalled nominees, including that of Garcetti.
He was not confirmed by the Senate in President Biden’s first two years in office amid concerns by some lawmakers that Garcetti had not adequately handled allegations of sexual assault and harassment against a former senior adviser.
President Biden renominated Garcetti to the same position in January this year.
Kenneth Juster, the last US envoy in New Delhi, stepped down in January 2021 after the change of government in America.
“The outcome was anything but guaranteed. Democratic defections had mounted Wednesday morning, with several senators citing lingering questions about whether Garcetti knew or should have known about a former top aide’s alleged sexual harassment of colleagues,” the Los Angeles Times newspaper commented.
Some Democrats had publicly expressed concern about whether Garcetti knew about the sexual harassment that his former aide Rick Jacobs allegedly committed.
Garcetti supporters argued that geopolitical concerns were too important to leave India without an ambassador. The US Embassy in India has been without an ambassador since January 2021, the longest stretch in the history of US-India relations that the post has sat vacant.


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