After 2 Years, India Will Finally Have Full-Time US Envoy As Senate Confirms Biden Pick Garcetti

New Delhi: The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Eric Garcetti, the man tapped by US President Joe Biden as ambassador to India.

This comes two years after the US Embassy in New Delhi did not have a full-time envoy – the longest vacancy in the history of India-US relations.

Last week, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved Garcetti’s nomination 13:8, sending the vote to the full Senate as the final step in the process.

Officially nominated in July 2021, Garcetti saw his nomination stalled in the Senate for months due to allegations that he was not taking action against a former colleague accused of sexual harassment and bullying. The former LA mayor, however, has repeatedly denied these claims.

The last US ambassador to sit at the embassy in New Delhi was Kenneth Juster, who stepped down in January 2021. Since Juster took over for Biden, Washington has posted six charge d’affaires (CDAs) to its mission in Delhi – Don Heflin, Edgard Kagan, Daniel Smith, Atul Keshap, Patricia A. Lacina and Elizabeth Jones.

Experts have earlier pointed out that the record vacancy comes at a time when India-US relations are reaching their “most critical phase”, and there was a need for a long-term view of the strategic relationship from the US point of view.

Data compiled by the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) shows that US ambassadors to India usually take charge within 6 to 7 months of the departure of their predecessors.

Moreover, an analysis done by ThePrint last December based on data from the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) – the professional association of the US foreign service – showed that at the time, 20 US ambassadorial nominees were awaiting confirmation from the Senate Yet it was Garcetti’s longest-pending case