After 20 months in limbo, US Senate has now confirmed former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the new US ambassador to India.
President Joe Biden’s close aide won confirmation on Wednesday from a divided Senate as the nation’s next ambassador to India, more than a year and a half after he was first nominated.
The 52-42 vote gave the administration a long-sought victory with several Republicans breaking party discipline for the vote that they said was critical to fill one of the country’s highest-profile diplomatic posts.
“It’s a national security imperative to immediately have an ambassador in place in India. We can’t afford to wait any longer,” said Indiana senator Todd Young, one of the Republican crossover votes.
With several Democrats defecting, Garcetti’s fate rested with Republican senators in a chamber often divided along partisan lines. He secured seven GOP votes, more than enough to make up for the Democratic breakaways.
At the White House, spokesperson Olivia Dalton said Mr. Biden “believes that we have a crucial and consequential partnership with India and that Mayor Garcetti will make a strong and effective ambassador.”
The vacancy in the ambassadorship had left a significant diplomatic gap for the administration at a time of rising global tensions, including China’s increasingly assertive presence in the Pacific region and Russia’s war with Ukraine.
India, the world’s most populous democracy, is continuing to buy oil from Russia, while Western governments move to limit fossil fuel earnings that support Moscow’s budget, its military and its invasion
of Ukraine. Russia also provides the majority of India’s military hardware.