Honour to be back in India at such historic time in US-India ties: Ambassador Garcetti

New Delhi: Shortly after presenting his credentials to President Droupadi Murmu, US Ambassador Eric Garcetti on Thursday said he would focus on raising the bilateral partnership to “new heights” with both sides working together on “defining issues” of the time.

The US embassy in India was without an ambassador since January 2021 after then envoy Kenneth Juster’s resignation following a change of guard at the White House.

“It was an honour to present my credentials to the president and it is an honour to be back in India at such an exciting and historic time in the US-India relationship,” Garcetti said.

“I look forward to working with the Indian people to raise our partnership to new heights,” he added.

Separately, in a tweet, the ambassador said he is excited about working towards deepening the US-India ties.

“Thank you to the Government of India for your close and fruitful partnership with the United States. I’m excited to deepen #USIndia ties as we work together on defining issues of our time,” he said.

The US embassy said Garcetti will make his first official trip next week to Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

Garcetti’s presentation of credentials came a day after the White House announced that President Joe Biden will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an official state visit to the US, which will include a state dinner on June 22.

It said Modi’s visit will affirm the deep and close partnership between the US and India.

“The visit will strengthen our two countries’ shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific and our shared resolve to elevate our strategic technology partnership, including in defence, clean energy and space,” the White House said.

Garcetti, considered a close aide of Biden, received the confirmation to the post from the US Senate in March.

The former Los Angeles mayor was nominated to the high-profile post of the ambassador to India more than two years ago.

But the nomination was not confirmed by the Senate earlier following concerns by some lawmakers that Garcetti, as the then Los Angeles mayor, had not adequately handled allegations of sexual assault and harassment against one of his aides.

Garcetti is known as a committed public servant, educator and diplomat. He was confirmed in a bipartisan vote as the 25th United States Ambassador to India on March 15.

After serving as a Los Angeles city council member for 12 years, Garcetti was elected as the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles in 2013.

He was then the youngest mayor in Los Angeles’ history and was re-elected in 2017 with the widest margin ever recorded in the city.

Garcetti also served as a naval officer in the reserve component for 12 years and was selected as a Rockefeller Next Generation Leadership Fellow, an inaugural Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society, a Young Fellow of the French-American Foundation, a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a Reboot Fellow.

In 2005, he was awarded the New Frontier Award, given each year by the Kennedy family and Kennedy Library to a young elected official who embodies President John F Kennedy’s vision of service.

Garcetti earned a BA degree at Columbia College, Columbia University as a John Jay scholar.

Garcetti studied Hindi and Indian culture and history while at Columbia and went on to earn a master’s degree at the Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

After graduating, Garcetti was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, studying at The Queen’s College, Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science.