Time to confirm Ambassador to India, says Congressman Ro Khanna

by IANS |

New York, Nov 15 (IANS) It is time to confirm an Ambassador to India to strengthen the critical relationship between the two countries, top Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna said.

"The US needs a strong defence and strategic partnership with India especially in the face of escalating aggression from China," Khanna wrote in a tweet, which was in response to a Washington Post op-ed.

"Two years into this administration, it's time to confirm an ambassador to India to strengthen this critical relationship & our national security," Khanna tweeted.

This is the longest period since 1947 that the US Embassy in Delhi has been without an envoy.

The op-ed by Ronak Desai, says that the inability to fill this vital post is just just one small part of a broader failure.

"By failing to confirm Garcetti, politicians in the Senate have deprived the United States of an essential instrument for shaping our relationship with this indispensable partner. The cascade of international crises upending the international order underscores the importance of preserving and strengthening foreign relations with India," Desai wrote in the Washington Post.

The position of the US envoy in New Delhi has been lying vacant since President Joe Biden assumed office in January 2021, as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's nomination is still in limbo.

Republican Senators from Iowa, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have placed a hold on Garcetti's nomination.

The President's pick is also facing resistance from a few Democrats "over his professed lack of knowledge about sexual assault and harassment allegations against a top adviser", as reported by Politico.

The Biden administration named diplomat Elizabeth Jones as Charge d'Affaires ad interim in its Embassy in India -- the sixth interim envoy in 19 months since January 2021.

Before her, Patricia A. Lacina was the Charge d'Affaires at the embassy.

Experts say the absence of a full-time envoy in such an important country could prove detrimental to US interests in the region.

Kenneth Juster, who was the last US ambassador to India from 2017 until early 2021, described the delay as "less than ideal".

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