Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been confirmed as the United States' ambassador to India by the US Senate, following a two-year nomination process marred by allegations of mishandling workplace harassment complaints.
The confirmation vote saw 52 senators in favour of Garcetti's appointment, with seven Republicans joining the Democrats. Three Democrats voted against him.
The US-India relationship is seen as a crucial one, and Garcetti's appointment comes at a time when both countries are seeking to deepen ties in areas such as trade, security, and climate change.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who recently led a congressional delegation to India, praised the confirmation, stating that "it's a very good thing we now have an ambassador", reports Times of India.
However, Garcetti's nomination process has not been without controversy. Allegations of mishandling workplace harassment complaints were levelled against him, raising concerns about his suitability for the role.
Despite this, he has secured enough votes to take on the important diplomatic position.
US President Joe Biden initially nominated Garcetti as US ambassador to India in July 2021. However, during his confirmation hearing in December that year, Garcetti made contentious remarks about the CAA, which have raised concerns about his approach to the 'human rights situation' in India.
On being asked about how he would deal with the human rights situation in India, Garcetti had remarked, "I intend to engage directly with civil society. There are groups that are actively fighting for human rights… They will get direct engagement from me. These will not just be afterthoughts for me… I have fought for human rights on 4 different continents and will be a core part of what I will pursue with my Indian counterpart."
Garcetti had also said that he would bring up human rights and discrimination via the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a “core” piece of his engagement rather than as an obligation.
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