US President Joe Biden nominated Mayor Eric Michael Garcetti to be the US Ambassador to India on Tuesday. Following his nomination, Garcetti remarked that “India is in a tough neighbourhood”.
“India is situated in a tough neighbourhood. I intend to double-down on our efforts to strengthen India’s capacity to secure its borders and deter aggression through counterterrorism coordination,” Eric Garcetti said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Garcetti, 50, would replace Kenneth Juster, who served as the US Ambassador to India during the Trump administration.
"I am honoured to accept his nomination to serve in this role," Garcetti, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Who is Mayor Eric Garcetti?
Eric M. Garcetti has been the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles since 2013, following 12 years as a member of the City Council, including six as Council President. The 50-year-old was elected as Los Angeles mayor in 2013 and was re-elected in 2017. He is the city's first elected Jewish mayor, and its second consecutive Mexican American mayor.
He was appointed Los Angeles' first Deputy Mayor for International Affairs to expand the city’s global ties, according to the official website of the Mayor.
An activist, a teacher, a naval officer, Garcetti was born on February 4, 1971. He is the fourth-generation Angeleno and son of public servants.
He has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Besides, he has been successful in his bid to bring the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to the US for the first time in 30 years.
Garcetti co-founded Climate Mayors and led more than 400 US mayors to adopt the Paris Climate Agreement. He is the current Chair of C40 Cities – a network of 97 of the world’s biggest cities taking bold climate action and has led the organisation’s engagement and expansion in India as well as C40’s global response to the Covid-19 pandemic through the sharing of the best practices and resources.
Garcetti has also served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve and taught at the University of Southern California and Occidental College.
He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University and studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. Later he completed his further education at the London School of Economics.
Garcetti has been associated with the California Board of Human Rights Watch.
On the personal front, he is a father of a single child and has been a foster parent along with his wife for decades.
Views on India
Garcetti has travelled several times to India, most recently as a councilman. In college, he spent a year studying Hindi and Urdu.
“It’s the largest democracy in the world, soon to be the most populous country in the world, one of the top handful of superpowers in the world,” Garcetti said.
Speaking to reporters, Garcetti said that the United States cannot see “climate goals” without India hitting its own.
During a hearing, Garcetti said that he will push for “diversification” of India’s weapons systems.
If that diversification doesn't occur, we have to protect our data and our systems,” he said, adding that the growing defence trade between India and US has been one of the major successful stages of the bilateral ties.
Garcetti’s nomination comes at a time when the US and China have locked horns on several issues and there’s a looming threat of US sanctions on India’s over procurement of S-400 missile systems from Russia.
(with inputs from PTI)