US Senate confirms Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India

Former Los Angeles mayor will be Washington's first envoy to New Delhi since 2021

Eric Garcetti was first nominated to the post by US President Joe Biden in 2021. AFP
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Former Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti was confirmed as the US ambassador to India on Wednesday after his nomination was stalled for 20 months.

Mr Garcetti was confirmed 52-42 after several Republicans voted for him. He will be Washington's first envoy to New Delhi since 2021.

“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.

Susan Collins, one of the Republicans crossing the aisle said: “I met with him personally. He clearly has an enormous amount of expertise about India. India’s been two years without an ambassador, and that is far too long.”

Elizabeth Jones has served as Washington's chargé d'affaires in New Delhi since October 2022.

The vacancy has left a diplomatic void for Washington as President Joe Biden seeks deeper ties with India to counter China's growing influence in the Pacific.

But India continues to buy oil from Russia and participate in military exercises with Moscow. Russia also provides India with most of its military hardware.

Mr Biden first nominated Mr Garcetti to the envoy position in 2021.

Some Democrats had opposed Mr Garcetti's nomination over how he handled sexual harassment claims made against former top aide Rick Jacobs while he was mayor. Mr Garcetti and Mr Jacobs both denied any wrongdoing.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: March 15, 2023, 9:26 PM