U.S. President Joe Biden, on Friday, nominated Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to the post of Ambassador to India. Mr Garcetti, 50, who has been mayor of Los Angeles since 2013, is a former intelligence officer from the U.S. Navy and a Rhodes Scholar. He also served on the California board of Human Rights Watch, a rights advocacy organisation that has frequently criticized the Indian government’s rights record.
Eric Garcetti will succeed Kenneth Juster who served as ambassador to India during the Trump administration. The tradition of making political appointments to the post of ambassador to India has been bipartisan, and signals that the White House calls the shots in ambassadorial appointments in countries where the US has vital stakes.
The India- U.S. relationship has strong support on both sides of the aisle in Washington, although it is not without its critics. As India experienced its second wave of COVID-19 earlier this summer, the U.S. government, private sector and individuals contributed over $ 500 million in assistance according to U.S. government estimates. The defence and security dimensions of the relationship have also been growing. While bilateral trade has been growing between the two countries, the trading relationship has had challenges, especially around data flows, agricultural commodities and preferential trade status for India.
The two countries have sought to develop their relationship via multilateral forums (such as the United Nations Security Council) as well as smaller ‘plurilateral’ groupings such as the Quad – India, the U.S., Japan and Australia. Plans are in the works for a summit level in-person meeting of the Quad – likely to be held in Washington this autumn.