Indian-American US Vice-President Kamala Harris swore in the former mayor of Los Angeles as the nation's Ambassador to India. The ceremony capped Garcetti’s dramatic, nearly two-year fight to fill one of Washington’s most crucial diplomatic posts.
“It feels great. Can’t wait to serve,” the newly minted ambassador said, flashing two thumbs up after the ceremony in Harris’ ceremonial office, located in a building next to the White House. “I’m so honored the vice president did this today.”
The Senate voted 52 to 42 to confirm Garcetti earlier this month after his nomination had stalled for nearly two years over concerns about whether the former mayor knew, or should have known, about sexual harassment allegations against a former top aide.
In an unexpected plot twist, seven Republicans crossed the aisle to help Garcetti secure the post, while three Democrats opposed him.
President Biden, a close political ally of the former mayor, first nominated him in July 2021. Garcetti cleared his first Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in late 2021 by a unanimous vote, but his pathway was soon blocked by the allegations against the former aide, Rick Jacobs. Garcetti has denied any knowledge of the alleged misconduct.
Biden refused to name a new nominee, and renominated Garcetti on the first day of the new Congress in January, sending an unmistakable message that he was sticking with his choice.
The post of US ambassador to India has been vacant since January 2021. Biden has sought to bolster economic ties with India as he looks to counter China’s growing influence in the region and gain more support for Ukraine against continued Russian aggression.
Asked when he plans to travel to India, Garcetti said: “Hopefully as soon as I can.”