Reaffirming its support for Eric Garcetti, a former Mayor of Los Angeles, as the US ambassador to India, White House has sought his confirmation by the Senate saying he is “qualified to serve this vital role.”
President Joe Biden nominated Garcetti, 52, for US Ambassador to India in July 2021, but his nomination was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote during the previous Congress. Biden resent his nomination to the Senate in January for confirmation in the current Congress.
“We encourage and look forward to the Senate moving forward with his nomination on the floor,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday.
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“As you know, Eric Garcetti was voted out of committee in a bipartisan way. And so, clearly, he has had bipartisan support, which is very important in this process,” she said when asked if the administration believed that he will be confirmed.
“We think that Eric Garcetti is qualified to serve this vital role,” Jean-Pierre said in response to another question. “That’s why the President nominated him, right? The President nominated him because he thought he had the experience to be the US ambassador to India.”
“He received bipartisan support going out of committee. And we would like to see the Senate to move him forward and to continue getting that support,” she added.
In response to another question, Jean-Pierre said Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken who is India to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting “will reaffirm the strength of the US-India relationship and express our commitment to continue working together and in groups like the Quad to advance economic growth for our two countries and expand cooperation as we have our shared priorities.”
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“So, that’s what you’re going to hear from Secretary Blinken. That is the message that he will deliver,” she added.
Meanwhile, Senator Mark Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, has described the absence of a US ambassador to India as “an embarrassment.”
“It is an embarrassment that we say this is one of the most valuable relationships in the world, and yet we’ve not appointed an ambassador,” he was quoted as saying by an Indian news agency.
Warner, who was part of a Congressional delegation to India last week, said that Indians also raised the issue of the absence of an ambassador at this important time. The Senator also floated the idea of another equally qualified candidate if Garcetti fails to win confirmation.
“If he gets in, great. If he doesn’t get in, we need to have an equally qualified, competent person right behind,” Warner said. “We cannot continue this relationship without a Senate-confirmed ambassador here. It is disrespectful if we don’t do that.”