The Indian American community, think tanks and venture capitalists welcomed former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s appointment as the next U.S. Ambassador to India, a move they say will help both countries achieve critical goals in decarbonization, human development, economic resilience and trade growth.
Ambassador Garcetti was confirmed Wednesday, March 15 after the U.S Senate confirmed him with a 52-42 vote.
The position was vacant since early 2021, with Ambassador Elizabeth Jones serving as ad interim Chargé d’Affaires for the United States in New Delhi.
Garcetti’s name was first nominated in July 2021, but was put on hold due to allegations of sexual abuse and racism against his then chief of staff.
Vish Mishra, a veteran Silicon Valley venture capitalist, said Garcetti will be able represent President Joe Biden well in India. Mishra was one of the many Indian American leaders who were unhappy about the lack of an ambassador to one of the world’s most important economies and partners.
“Garcetti was mayor of one of the biggest cities in America,” Mishra told indica, “and he is an absolute Biden favorite. The White House waited for two years to get his confirmation through, which means Biden wanted Garcetti and no one else. He will get all the support from the State and Commerce departments to advance US-India relations.”
Mishra added, “I am sure he is all fired up to represent America well and will endear India. I am glad he got the nod today. I am hoping he would be a good diplomat. I wish him all the best.”
Mukesh Aghi, president and CEO of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) said he is delighted with the confirmation. In a statement, Dr Aghi said, “Having led Los Angeles, one of the most vibrant cities in the world, Mayor Garcetti understands that working with all stakeholders will be essential in moving forward the most significant relationship of the 21st century, the U.S.-India partnership.”
Dr Aghi believes Garcetti has a deep understanding and affection towards India and the Indian people. “I have no doubt he will hit the ground running when he lands in Delhi. He brings the humility of a great leader who is constantly looking to improve and make a difference. He is also a big-picture guy.”
He added, “We want to thank Senate Major Leader Chuck Schumer for bringing this critical vote to the Senate floor. The U.S. and India partnership is a bipartisan priority. We have much to accomplish in 2023 and beyond, starting with the Quad Summit, a potential State visit, and a list of G-20 activities. USISPF is proud to support Ambassador Garcetti in his new role and wishes him all the success.”
Ambassador Atul Keshap, President of The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) said in a statement, “The U.S. India Business Council is pleased that the Senate has confirmed Eric Garcetti as the U.S. Ambassador to India. As the world’s largest democracy and fastest growing large economy, India is an essential partner to the United States as it seeks to bolster its strategic, technological, and economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific. Having a U.S. Ambassador to India is critical as both great democracies work to build their Quad partnership and high-trust ecosystem, underpinned by shared democratic values.”
M.R. Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, an Indian diaspora community organization, said, “We are delighted to see a U.S. Ambassador present in India before the G20 meetings and a U.S. State visit by Prime Minister Modi. As we all know the US-India relationship is the most consequential one for this century.”
Shreerupa Mitra, USIBC’s deputy managing director, said this confirmation comes at a key time for U.S.-India relations, with India taking up the G20 presidency for the first time this year. “As a vital source of high-skilled talent and a rising hub for high-value manufacturing, India has a global role to play in fortifying supply chains and achieving sustainable development goals. The confirmation of Eric Garcetti as the U.S. Ambassador to India will add necessary focus and energy behind these efforts, ultimately helping both our countries achieve critical goals in decarbonization, human development, and economic resilience.”
Mitra added that USIBC “is grateful for the strong stewardship shown to date by Ambassador Beth Jones as Chargé d’Affaires.” She said, “The U.S.-India Business Council has played an active role in enhancing bilateral trade between the world’s oldest and largest democracy since 1975, working across eight administrations from both parties and 15 ambassadors to foster long-term public-private partnerships and business to-business ties. As a part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, USIBC strongly believes that America must once again lead on trade. Enhancing bilateral trade with India is vital to Washington’s efforts to fortify key supply chains, boost our economic competitiveness, and promote America’s global leadership.”