Indian Americans welcome the nomination of Garcetti, who will become the 26th U.S. ambassador to India, if confirmed by the US Senate.
President Joe Biden has named Eric M. Garcetti, who is currently serving as the mayor of Los Angeles, as the next U.S. ambassador to India. The White House made the announcement on Thursday.
The nomination of Garcetti, a two-term mayor of Los Angeles, has been widely expected. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will be the 26th U.S. ambassador to India.
The last U.S. ambassador in New Delhi was Kenneth Juster, who served as America’s top diplomat in India from November 2017 to January this year.
Last week, Indian American diplomat Atul Keshap was appointed as Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, in New Delhi.
Garcetti, who served as a co-chair of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, is considered close to the president. Before his election as the mayor of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, he served as a member of the City Council for 12 years, including six years as Council President.
Garcetti earned his bachelor’s and master’s at Columbia University and went on to attend Queen’s College, Oxford, and the London School of Economics, as a Rhodes Scholar,. An inaugural Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society, he also was active in academics, teaching at Occidental College in Los Angeles and at the University of Southern California.
He also served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve Component for 12 years, serving under the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Defense Intelligence Agency, until retiring in 2017 as a Lieutenant.
The White House statement pointed out that, as the Los Angeles Mayor, Garcetti co-foundered the group Climate Mayors and led more than 400 mayors from across the United States to adopt the Paris Climate agreement. “He is the current Chair of C40 Cities – a network of 97 of the world’s biggest cities taking bold climate action and has led the organization’s engagement and expansion in India as well as C40’s global response to the COVID pandemic through the sharing of best practices and resources,” it said.
Garcetti’s nomination was welcomed by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi and two prominent Indian American organizations.
Illinois Democrat Krishnamoorthi termed it as “an important step forward in the U.S.-India partnership as our nations work together to end the pandemic, increase economic cooperation, and ensure regional security.”
The congressman added, “Mayor Garcetti’s experience in leading Los Angeles while championing international cooperation between the world’s leading cities will undoubtedly serve him well as he helps strengthens the relationship between the world’s largest democracy and its oldest.”
“Eric Garcetti’s nomination to be US ambassador to India is a welcome signal to all of us with a strong interest in seeing the Biden administration prioritize this important bilateral connection,” said Sanjeev Joshipura, Executive Director of the nonprofit Indiaspora. “The choice of a leader with Garcetti’s personal links and political experience will be invaluable in further strengthening ties between the two nations.”
“We are excited that President Biden has nominated a reputed leader who has proven himself on several fronts,” said MR Rangaswami, Indiaspora founder and a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and investor, in a press statement. “It speaks volumes to the importance of the U.S.-India relationship that a close and trusted ally of President Biden may be America’s point person in Delhi.”
The statement said, as the Mayor of Los Angeles, Garcetti would bring valuable political and administrative experience to the role and he would also have Biden’s ear.
Impact, a political action committee that supports Indian Americans candidates, said President Biden “has made an excellent choice,” as the ambassadorship to India is a critical position for strengthening ties between the world’s largest and the world’s oldest democracy.
“As a trusted ally of President Biden, Eric Garcetti will make great strides in strengthening diplomatic ties between the United States and India as ambassador, especially during this time of humanitarian crisis,” said Impact Executive Director Neil Makhija.
“Mayor Garcetti’s credentials and national stature make him an excellent pick for the Ambassadorship to India, a position that is critical to key American priorities like the global COVID-19 crisis, climate change, and immigration,” said Makhija.
He pointed out that, as Los Angeles mayor, Garcetti oversaw vaccine deployment in the city, where over more than half the people over the age of 16 are now vaccinated. “Garcetti understands the urgency and reality of addressing climate change, is familiar with geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region from his service in the U.S. Navy,” he said.
Also on Friday, the White House announced three other ambassadorial nominations. They are Denise Campbell Bauer, nominee for ambassador to the French Republic and to the Principality of Monaco; Peter D. Haas, nominee for ambassador to Bangladesh and Bernadette M. Meehan, nominee for ambassador to Chile.