The United States on Wednesday acknowledged that US envoy to India is an ‘incredibly important’ position, which the White House is looking to fill amid the growing uncertainty about the fate of President Biden’s nominee Eric Garcetti, according to news agency ANI report.
This comes following the White House notifying that United States is ready to support India in diversifying its energy imports, reiterating its desire that New Delhi does not purchase oil from Russia amid American sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine. “We do not think India should accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy and other commodities even as, obviously, those decisions are made by individual countries,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Meanwhile, the nomination of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti to become US ambassador seems to be in trouble as Republicans have sought to put the matter on hold owing to a pending probe regarding the sexual harassment of his adviser.
When asked how does a lack of an ambassador in New Delhi affect US’ ability to pressure India not to work with Russia, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the preference is always to have a confirmed ambassador on the ground.
Psaki said the US envoy to India is “an incredibly important diplomatic position.”
“We have a range of ways to communicate and engage and obviously — our deputy national security advisor (Daleeep Singh) is an example of that — but clearly our preference would be to have a confirmed ambassador,” she added.
This comes as media reports say Eric Garcetti doesn’t currently have enough votes to be confirmed as ambassador to India.
There is a growing concern within the Democratic Party about the fate of Eric Garcetti to serve as ambassador to India, which is resisting the Biden administration’s efforts to get tougher on Russia.
Biden may pull Garcetti’s nomination and find another candidate who can be seated as his envoy to India, Axios reported.
According to a document obtained by Politico, Republican Senator Charles Grassley asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to seek a delay of the nomination until the probe is concluded.
“The United States owes it to the Republic of India to send them a qualified Ambassador that will represent the values of the United States,” Grassley had said in the documents sent to McConnell to notify the Senate.
(With inputs from agencies)
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