Biden renominates Garcetti as U.S. envoy to India, sends several other Indian-American nominations to Senate

Eric Garcetti. Photo Twitter @ericgarcetti:

President Joe Biden re-nominated Eric Garcetti, on January 3, 2023, as the U.S. Ambassador to India, after the upper house blocked the confirmation of the former Mayor of Los Angeles last year.

The administration expects that the 51-49 Democratic majority in the new Senate will aid the crucial confirmation process.

“As Secretary Blinken said very recently, our relationship with India is crucial… so we see this as a very important nomination,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, adding, “He is well qualified… to serve in this vital role.  And we’re hopeful that the full Senate will confirm him promptly.”

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Garcetti’s renomination assumes significance as India already took over the G20 Presidency and is looking to host the G20 leaders September 9-10, in New Delhi.

“India is a very important relationship that we have. You saw the President greet and meet very briefly with Prime Minister Modi just last week when he was in Bali. So clearly, it’s an important relationship that we truly respect,” said Jean-Pierre after the G20 Summit in November. “As for Mayor Garcetti, we are committed to getting him through the process. We’re continuing to talk to the Senate about making that happen. That is a priority of ours.”

Garcetti told the LA Times, “I am grateful for the president’s confidence, and strong support on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.”

“It is important that for the U.S. strategically to have an Ambassador in New Delhi,” asserted President & CEO of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), Mukesh Aghi. “Lack of an Ambassador means marginalized communication, marginalized understanding, and marginalized strategy. And by having an ambassador, who has direct access to the President sends a very strong message,” Aghi told News India Times Jan. 4.

“And the renomination of Eric Garcetti by the President shows his faith in Eric and his commitment to US-India relationship. I strongly believe with the Senate having one more member on the majority side will confirm Eric as the Ambassador to India, which will be a win-win both for US and India, in the short and long term,” Aghi added.

Garcetti’s confirmation process stalled last year when many Democratic Senators had serious concerns about his apparent lack of knowledge of the sexual assault accusations against his top adviser, Rick Jacobs. Concerns on the Republican side initiated by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), led the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to stall the process. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) joined Grassley whose office also initiated an investigation into the allegations. Grassley strongly opposed Garcetti’s nomination on the Senate floor in December saying, “I’m compelled to vote against Mayor Garcetti due to the serious allegations that he enabled sexual harassment and racism to run rampant in the Los Angeles Mayor’s office.”

 According to Aghi, Garcetti is a dynamic leader, and a rising star in the Democratic Party. He is passionate about India and is keen to enhance the US-India relationship to a new level, and confirming him becomes more urgent in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, “So at least there’s a better understanding of India’s present position vis-à-vis Russia and Ukraine. And India to have a better understanding of the U.S. position on Ukraine and Russia.”

Biden also renominated other Indian-Americans including Anjali Chaturvedi to be General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs; Ravi Chaudhary, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force; Geeta Rao Gupta, to be Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues; Vivek Murthy, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization; and Radha Iyengar Plumb, to be a Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. Also, Bangladeshi-American, Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, was renominated to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

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