Garcetti’s nomination advances with Senate panel OK
NEW YORK: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January unanimously approved the nomination of Eric Garcetti to be the US Ambassador to India, a position that has been vacant for almost a year. The nomination will now go to the full Senate where a vote is likely soon as Republican Senator Ted Cruz has lifted his procedural hold on nominations that he placed because of his differences with President Joe Biden on a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. The committee also approved the nomination of Donald Armin Blome to be the envoy to Pakistan. Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, and Blome had appeared before the Committee in December for a hearing at which they outlined their agendas as ambassadors and answered questions from Senators.
But they were not included in the group of about 30 nominations of Ambassadors approved by the full Senate with a voice vote last month. The Senate Committee had to approve the nominations of Garcetti, Blome and others, including Amy Guttman as Ambassador to Germany, once again as the earlier vote lapsed when the Senate session closed at the end of the year. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez said: “I believe they are all well qualified and deserving of their nominations. I will be voting for them and look forward to their swift confirmation.”
Even as India’s relations with the US have advanced during Biden’s first year in office, the Ambassador’s position has been vacant since January last year when Ken Juster resigned following the defeat of Donald Trump who had appointed him. Faced with growing aggressive behavior by China, Biden has focused on the Indo-Pacific region, where New Delhi has a key role, advancing the Quad, the four-member group of India, the US, Japan and Australia, and convening its first summit. Menendez said: “Prolonged vacancies are not in our interest. They undermine our national security, hinder our leadership role abroad.”