By: Pramod Thomas
US president Joe Biden’s close aid, Eric Garcetti, was officially sworn in as the US Ambassador to India by vice president Kamala Harris, ending over two years of wait to fill the crucial diplomatic position
The swearing-in ceremony was held on Friday (24) with Garcetti’s daughter Maya held the Hebrew Bible during the ceremony, while he raised his right hand for the oath.
During the ceremony, Harris and Garcetti, who have been friends for a long time, shook hands, and their families cheered.
The event was attended by his close family members, including wife Amy Wakeland, father Gil Garcetti, mother Sukey Garcetti and mother-in-law Dee Wakeland.
“It feels great. Can’t wait to serve,” Garcetti, 52, said when asked about his new diplomatic assignment. “I’m so honoured the vice president did this,” he said.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff also attended the event.
Former mayor of Los Angeles, Garcetti’s nomination was pending before the US Congress since July 2021 when he was nominated by Biden.
The Senate voted 52 to 42 to confirm him earlier this month after his nomination stalled amid concerns by some lawmakers that he had not adequately handled allegations of sexual assault and harassment against a former senior adviser.
Garcetti’s nomination was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote during the last Congress as the ruling Democratic Party did not have enough support to get him through.
Biden renominated him to the same position in January this year.
Garcetti’s supporters argued that geopolitical concerns were too important to leave India without an ambassador.
The US embassy in India has been without an ambassador since January 2021, the longest stretch in the history of US-India relations that the post remained vacant.
Asked when he plans to travel to India, Garcetti said: “Hopefully as soon as I can.”
Harris and Garcetti’s relationship spans more than 15 years, during which she served as California’s attorney general and later as a US senator for the state, the Los Angeles Times said.