The Senate has approved the nomination of President Joe Biden's close adviser, Eric Garcetti, to be the new US Ambassador to India, following a long search that lasted more than two years.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 52–42 to approve the former mayor of Los Angeles' candidature. In order to win the election, 52-year-old Garcetti had to persuade seven Republicans to vote for him while losing the support of three Democrats.
From July 2021, when Biden proposed him for the coveted diplomatic position, his nomination has been pending before the US Congress.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination last week with a vote of 13 to 8 in favour.
“The US and India have a solid partnership that is significant from a geopolitical, economic, and cultural standpoint. This alliance continues to hold great potential for the future since it was built on shared values, is reinforced by expanding economic and commercial links, and is backed by the Indian diaspora in the US “Senator Mark Warner, a member of the Senate India Caucus, stated this.
As co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, Warner expressed his happiness that an ambassador will soon be appointed by the Senate and stationed in New Delhi.
During the last Congress, Garcetti's nomination was not put up for a vote on the Senate floor because the 52-year-old close adviser to Biden was not supported by enough members of the governing Democratic Party.
Because of concerns from certain members that Garcetti had not dealt with charges of sexual assault and harassment against a former top assistant appropriately, he was not approved by the Senate during President Biden's first two years in office.
In January of this year, President Biden renominated Garcetti for the same job.
As the US changed governments in January 2021, Kenneth Juster, the last ambassadorial resident of the US in New Delhi, resigned.
Democrats have raised the question of whether Garcetti was aware of the alleged sexual harassment conducted by his former assistant Rick Jacobs in public.
Geopolitical considerations, according to Garcetti's backers, were too essential to leave India without an ambassador. Since January 2021, the US Embassy in India has been without an ambassador, the longest period of time in the relationship's history.
“The absence of an ambassador is now seriously compromising my sense of national security. One of the two Republicans who backed Garcetti in committee, Young, said, “Our strategic partners wouldn't imagine going two years into the construction of a government or administration and failing to install their person in the post.
The Los Angeles Times newspaper reported Young as adding, “So it's not an ideal position, but we have to balance these conflicting interests, and I do believe he's suited to be extremely effective in that job.
According to the New York Times, President Biden referred to the vote as “critical” at a fundraiser on Tuesday night in Nevada. The White House had recently contacted several senators to guarantee his nomination was approved.
In 2020, many men accused Jacobs, a former adviser to Garcetti, of engaging in inappropriate behaviour; the former mayor of Los Angeles is charged with knowing about this behaviour. Any impropriety has been refuted by Garcetti.
He said before Congress that if he had been aware of the harassment, he would have taken action.