The pink auto has again taken the route of the US Embassy in India and this time, dropped off America’s ambassador Eric Garcetti has taken over as the new envoy. Garcetti, who arrived in India on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, came in a “pink auto” and met all the members of the Embassy, according to the video shared by US Embassy in India on its official Twitter account.
“Excitement fills the air as we welcome Ambassador-Designate Eric Garcetti to India! We are excited to personally greet him and confident the U.S.-India partnership will advance through his leadership. #USIndiaTogether,” US Embassy in India tweeted.
On Garcetti’s arrival in India, Indian Embassy in the US tweeted, “Namaste, Ambassador-Designate Eric Garcetti! We’re thrilled to welcome you to #IncredibleIndia and work with you to build even stronger ties between our two great nations.”
On March 24, Garcetti was sworn in by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris as the new US Ambassador to India, after the U.S. Senate on March 15 confirmed the nomination of the former mayor of Los Angeles.
Garcetti, who is a close ally of Joe Biden, was nominated for the post by the US president in 2021. But his appointment was held up after allegations that he had overlooked accusations of sexual harassment against an aide when he was mayor. Garcetti denies any wrongdoing.
The US has not had an ambassador to India since January 2021 even though the two countries have strong security and trade ties.
Garcetti won the mandate by a vote of 52 to 42, a major victory for US President Joe Biden as well, who stuck by his political ally in the face of the allegations and the prolonged process that has left the world’s most populous democracies without US representatives.
After the result, Garcetti said in a statement, “I’m thrilled with today’s outcome, which was a decisive and bipartisan decision to fill a critical post that has been vacant for far too long. Now the hard work begins.”
Garcetti’s appointment also comes at a time when Russia has become a major irritant between Delhi and Washington. India’s neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has frustrated the US. Delhi has not explicitly condemned the war but has talked about the importance of “the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states”.
India is also the biggest market for Russian military equipment and continues to import huge quantities of crude oil from the country, ignoring bans in the US and parts of Europe. “The United States-India relationship is extremely important,” Senator Chuck Schumer said after a test vote on Wednesday. “It’s a very good thing we now have an ambassador.”
A graduate of Columbia University, Garcetti was an officer in the US Navy for 12 years before he made his foray into politics. In 2013, he became the youngest mayor of LA in 100 years and the first Jewish person to be elected for the role. He held the post until 2022.
“I’m deeply grateful to President Biden and the White House for the confidence and support throughout this process, and to all Senators on both sides of the aisle — whether they voted for me or not — for their thoughtful consideration. I’m ready and eager to begin my service representing our critical interests in India,” he added.