Despite the growing importance of New Delhi-Washington relations, the post has been vacant for two years after Kenneth Juster, who was appointed by defeated former President Donald Trump resigned
President Joe Biden will be renominating Eric Garcetti to be the US ambassador to India despite the Senate’s failure to confirm him in the last session, according to media reports quoting administration officials.
Garcetti’s nomination to the key diplomatic post in New Delhi lapsed as it failed to clear the last session of the Senate and requires Biden to nominate him again.
Biden nominated him in July 2021 and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination in January last year, but the full Senate, which must approve all senior appointments failed to take it up before its term ended.
In an interview with CNN last month, Garcetti said he felt “quite optimistic” about being confirmed by the Senate.
“I have good support from Republicans and Democrats who recognise this is a critical position”, he said. “I can’t wait to get to work”.
Despite the growing importance of New Delhi-Washington relations, the post has been vacant for two years after Kenneth Juster, who was appointed by defeated former President Donald Trump resigned.
The embassy is being headed temporarily by Charge d’Affaires Elizabeth Jones, the fifth diplomat to hold the position in the last two years disrupting continuity at the embassy even as India and the US are deepening strategic relations, especially through the Quad with Japan and Australia, and the newly launched I2U2 with Israel and UAE.
Garcetti’s nomination hit a roadblock in the Senate because of allegations that while he was the mayor of Los Angeles he was aware of and failed to act on reports that his former senior staffer and adviser Rick Jacobs sexually harassed men, including a police officer.
Although Garcetti denied that he had known about the allegations, two Republican Senators, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, placed a hold on the nomination after Grassley's staff prepared a report about it.
White House dismissed the report as a “hit job”.
Biden’s Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said in November that Garcettiu’s nomination “is a priority of ours" and the president stood by it.
Garcetti, who is politically close to Biden and was on the panel that vetted his nominee for vice president, completed his term as Los Angeles mayor last month without seeking reelection.
The Wall Street Journal quoting unidentified administration officials said that Garcetti’s nomination will be among the several failed ones that will be sent again to the Senate.
The administration's plans to renominate him as well as Danny Werfel to head the national tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service, were also reported subsequently by other media.