tharoor172_ Sarah MorrisGetty Images_eric garcetti Sarah Morris via Getty Images

America’s Missing Ambassador to India

The strategic partnership between the US and India has never been more essential, and yet the US has not had an ambassador to the country for two years. While President Joe Biden hails India as an “indispensable” partner, the administration’s lack of progress on confirming its nominee suggests otherwise to many Indians.

NEW DELHI – The recent decision by President Joe Biden’s administration to renominate former Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti to be US ambassador to India has highlighted the peculiar state of the bilateral relationship.

Since Biden took office two years ago, the United States has not had an ambassador in New Delhi – and this at a time when the US is assiduously courting India as a potential counterweight to China in the Indo-Pacific. Together with fellow Quad members Australia, Japan, and the US, India is essential to maintaining the balance of power in the region. And as a member of the fledgling I2U2 partnership, which also includes Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the US, India has a crucial role to play in containing Chinese influence in the Middle East.

Given India’s strategic importance, why has the White House left the ambassador position vacant for two years? The answer has nothing to do with India. Garcetti was nominated in July 2021, a few months into the new administration. But his Senate confirmation ran into trouble over allegations that as mayor he ignored sexual harassment complaints against one of his aides.

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