Biden picks Los Angeles mayor to serve as US Ambassador to India


President Joe Biden has nominated Los Angeles Mayor Eric Michael Garcetti to serve as the American ambassador to India.

Indian American organizations welcomed the announcement, made Friday, July 9, calling it an opportunity for the Indian diaspora to work together to continue bridging US-India ties.

Garcetti, 50, born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, has been mayor of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the US, since 2013.

According to Wikipedia, prior to his election to the Los Angeles City Council, Garcetti was a visiting instructor of international affairs at the University of Southern California, and an assistant professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College. His academic work focused on ethnic conflict and nationalism in Southeast Asia and Northeast Africa.

On accepting the nomination Garcetti posted a statement on the city’s website: “I love Los Angeles and will always be an Angeleno. I want you to know that every day I am your mayor, I will continue to lead this city like it is my first day on the job, with passion, focus, and determination. I have committed my life to service –– as an activist, as a teacher, as a naval officer, as a public servant and, if confirmed, next as an ambassador. Part of that commitment means that when your nation calls, you answer that call. And should I be confirmed, I’ll bring this same energy, commitment, and love for this city to my new role, and will forge partnerships and connections that will help Los Angeles.”

Welcoming Garcetti’s nomination MR Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, investor, and founder of Indiaspora, stated in a press note, “We are excited that President Biden has nominated a reputed leader who has proven himself on several fronts. “It speaks volumes to the importance of the U.S.-India relationship that a close and trusted ally of President Biden may be America’s point person in Delhi.”

According to Sanjeev Joshipura, Indiaspora’s executive director, “Mayor Garcetti recognizes the importance of international cooperation and how to bring different actors together on the world stage.”

Neil Makhija, executive director of IMPACT, another Indian American non-profit organization, said, “Ambassadorship to India is a critical position for strengthening ties between the world’s largest and the world’s oldest democracy, and President Biden has made an excellent choice in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.”

He added, “Mayor Garcetti’s credentials and national stature make him an excellent pick for the ambassadorship to India, a position that is critical to key American priorities like the global COVID-19 crisis, climate change, and immigration.

“As mayor, Eric Garcetti oversaw the vaccine deployment in the nation’s second-largest city, where over 50% of people over the age of 16 are now vaccinated. Garcetti understands the urgency and reality of addressing climate change, and is familiar with geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region from his service in the US Navy.”

Garcetti’s nomination has long been anticipated. He needs Senate confirmation to get the position. If he makes it, he will be the first sitting Los Angeles mayor to leave the position voluntarily in more than 100 years, according to the Los Angeles Times.