Nearly two years later, US Senate confirms Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India
WASHINGTON: Eric Garcetti, former Los Angeles mayor and a close ally of President Joe Biden, has been confirmed as the United States’ ambassador to India by the US Senate. The confirmation followed a lengthy two-year nomination process that saw allegations of mishandling workplace harassment complaints leveled against Garcetti.
The final vote was 52-42, with seven Republicans joining Democrats in supporting Garcetti, while three Democrats voted against him.
“The United States-India relationship is extremely important and it’s a very good thing we now have an ambassador,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who led a congressional delegation to India last month.
With several Democrats defecting, Garcetti’s fate rested with Republican senators in a chamber often divided along partisan lines. He secured seven GOP votes, more than enough to make up for the Democratic breakaways.
Kansas Republican Roger Marshall said having an ambassador in place in India was vital in advancing relations among members of the “quad” — the US India, Australia and Japan, which he said puts pressure on China.
“We don’t agree on all the different policies he did as mayor, but I think he’s a good person at heart and he would be a good ambassador,” Marshall said. He said on the allegations: “He answered my questions adequately.”
The position of ambassador to India had been vacant since January 2021, which was a source of concern as the US seeks to strengthen its partnership with India against China’s growing influence. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who recently led a congressional delegation to India, emphasized the importance of the US-India relationship.
Biden has made it a priority to deepen ties with India, the world’s largest democracy and a significant US trading partner, as part of his efforts to promote free societies over autocracies.
Garcetti’s nomination was made in July 2021, but his confirmation was delayed due to allegations of mishandling workplace harassment complaints during his tenure as Los Angeles mayor. Garcetti has denied any wrongdoing.
(With inputs from agencies)