US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti will be leading an ambitious effort to deepen America's cooperation with India, including in defence and economic sectors, according to the White House.
Garcetti, the former Mayor of Los Angeles, was officially sworn in as the US Ambassador to India on March 24 by Vice President Kamala Harris during a ceremonial event here.
The US Senate confirmed 52-year-old Garcetti's nomination earlier last month, ending a protracted hiatus of over two years to fill the key diplomatic position.
Garcetti's nomination was pending before the US Congress since July 2021 when he was nominated by President Joe Biden.
“The president has said, when we look at the relationship with India, it's one of the most consequential relationships that the United States has in the world. That still stands,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference on Tuesday.
“Ambassador Garcetti will be leading an ambitious effort to deepen our cooperation with India in critical and emerging technologies, expand our defense cooperation, and strengthen our economic and people-to-people ties,” Jean-Pierre said.
This is one of the most consequential relationships that the United States has in the world, she said.
“So, it's an important relationship that the president sees,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Garcetti, who is now headed to New Delhi this month, was not confirmed by the Senate in President Biden's first two years in office amid concerns by some lawmakers that he had not adequately handled allegations of sexual assault and harassment against a former senior adviser.
President Biden renominated him to the same position in January this year.
Garcetti supporters argued that geopolitical concerns were too important to leave India without an ambassador.
The US Embassy in India has been without an ambassador since January 2021, the longest stretch in the history of US-India relations that the post has sat vacant, since Kenneth Juster, the last US envoy in New Delhi, stepped down after the change of government in America.