US remains committed to getting Eric Garcetti as India envoy: WH

by IANS |

New York, Nov 22 (IANS) Asserting that it shares a very important relationship with India, the White House said that the US is committed to getting Eric Garcetti as Washington's Ambassador to New Delhi.

President Joe Biden nominated Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, as the next envoy to India on July 9, 2021.

His nomination is however, yet to receive confirmation from the Senate.

"India is a very important relationship that we have. You saw the President greet and meet very briefly with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi just last week when he was in Bali. So clearly, it's an important relationship that we truly respect," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday.

Garcetti's nomination is in limbo with Republican Senators from Iowa, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley placing a hold.

The President's pick also faces 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.

"As for Mayor Garcetti, we are committed to getting him through the process.A We're continuing to talk to the Senate on making that happen. That is a priority of ours," Jean-Pierre said.

Garcetti was accused of being aware of alleged sexual misconduct of his top aide Rick Jacobs -- an allegation that he has persistently denied.

The White House comments come a week after Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna had tweeted that it is about time the US confirms an ambassador to India to strengthen critical relationship and national security

The Biden administration named diplomat Elizabeth Jones as Charge d'Affaires ad interim in its Embassy in India -- the sixth interim envoy 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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