Garcetti, a former mayor of Los Angeles, was nominated by President Joe Biden in July 2021 for this prestigious diplomatic position.
The nomination will now proceed to the Senate floor for a full vote.
Despite concerns by some lawmakers that Garcetti had not adequately handled allegations of sexual assault and harassment by a former senior advisor during his time as mayor, two Republican Senators, Todd Young and Bill Hagerty, joined Democratic lawmakers in passing the nomination through the committee.
Senator Chuck Grassley called for voting against Garcetti, but Senator Young defended his decision to vote in favor of the nominee, citing national security interests and the need to balance China in the Indo-Pacific region.
“It’s in our national security interest to have an ambassador immediately in place in India in order to balance China, work with the US throughout the Indo-Pacific…He has an imperfect resume, but the skills to succeed in this capacity,” Young said.
The White House expressed full confidence in Garcetti, and urged the Senate to move forward with his nomination.
During the prolonged period without an ambassador, there were significant delays in issuing visas to the US from India, with first-time applicants for business and tourism visas facing up to two years of waiting at the worst point. Although the waiting period has since reduced, it was a challenging time for those seeking to travel to the US.
Despite this, relations between the US and India have been active, with President Biden making the Quad a priority in his Indo-Pacific strategy. This has led to several virtual and in-person meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as multilateral engagements with counterparts from Japan and Australia.
During his confirmation hearing, Garcetti promised to focus on enhancing India’s capacity to defend its borders, sovereignty, and deter aggression. This is seen as a positive development for India. Additionally, he intends to address contentious issues such as the Indian purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense missile system, as well as human rights and democratic values.