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Biden’s pick for US ambassador’s post in India, Eric Garcetti, knows Hindi & Urdu

Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Mayor. (File Photo)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is President Joe Biden’s choice for the  US ambassador’s post in New Delhi, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday if  confirmed for the job he would endeavour to advance the ambitious bilateral partnership between the US and India “united by a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region."

In his statement to the Senators, Garcetti said that if confirmed, he would double-down on US “efforts to strengthen India's capacity to secure its borders, defend its sovereignty, and deter aggression – through information sharing, counterterrorism coordination."

Garcetti informed the committee about his visits to India as a teenager with his  parents,  and then again in 1990 as a guest of Ambassador William Clark Jr., whose son was Garcetti's college roommate. He said his trip inspired him to study Hindi and Urdu in college, as well as Indian and Cultural Religious History.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee sees India as a key partner in its effort to push back against China's expanding power and influence.

"Few nations are more vital to the future of American security and prosperity than India," Garcetti said.

"Even with a pandemic, our bilateral trade this year is expected to break a record, and if confirmed, I intend to champion an ambitious economic partnership with India to reduce market barriers, bolster free trade and generate good, middle-class American jobs," Garcetti added.

Several senators asked Garcetti how he would work to address the India-Russia relationship, as Russia still accounts for over two-thirds of the military equipment used by India’s defence forces.

Some Senators also raised the issue of India acquiring the S-400 missile defence systems  from Russia, despite the threat of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions

Garcetti replied: "If confirmed I would advocate following the continued diversification of India's weapon system, the threats to our own weapon systems if that diversification doesn't occur, because we have to protect our data and our systems and work towards really growing this Major Defence Partnership."

Also read:  In Indonesia, Biden patches up tattered relations and promises better security to counter China