Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, once a prominent figure in American politics, has taken a turn into becoming the U.S. ambassador to India. Garcetti’s appointment to the diplomatic post in India has been met with praise for his adept handling of critical negotiations and his role in managing the crucial U.S.-India relationship. 

This does not come without some controversy, however. Garcetti faced some challenges as mayor of one of America’s top two most famous cities, including allegations of negligence regarding sexual harassment within his team. It emerged that Garcetti was aware of sexual harassment allegations against a longtime aide, but did not take action, a claim he vehemently denied.

Amid a right-wing Hindu nationalist government that was notorious for inciting anti-Muslim violence and undermining India’s secular and democratic identity, Garcetti began his diplomatic career in New Delhi. Garcetti’s ambassadorship gave him a chance to rewrite his political story. Biden administration officials have given Garcetti positive reviews for his work in India, praising his handling of the critical U.S.-India relationship and his negotiations with world leaders.

Garcetti still has aspirations to hold a higher position despite this diplomatic role. He views his rebirth as a diplomat at the age of 52 as a stepping stone rather than a career apex. Garcetti’s political future is still unknown despite his consideration of a 2020 presidential campaign and his 2016 consideration as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. His intelligence, charisma, and relative youth are noted by observers as potential motivators for further political endeavors.


Garcetti’s early interest in politics was influenced by his politically active family. The foundation his mother ran advocated for progressive social change, and his early exposure to India had a profound effect. When Biden extended an offer of ambassadorship to Garcetti in 2021, a move that struck a chord with the man’s longstanding ties to India, his Indian heritage became an important consideration.

Since assuming the role in Delhi, Garcetti has traveled quite often, as he’s visited 13 of India’s states and territories to engage with local officials. He was very important in facilitating agreements, including allowing General Electric to manufacture jet engines in India and permitting U.S. Navy ships to undergo repairs in Indian shipyards. The ambassadorship also brought many highly powered visitors to India, including top officials like the secretaries of State, Defense, Commerce, and Treasury.

Garcetti acknowledges the significance of the relationship between the United States and India, highlighting its role in shaping the 21st century. Though relations with the West have been strained due to India’s alignment with Russia, Garcetti diplomatically navigates the complexities while acknowledging the difficulties faced by democracies. Garcetti’s current strategy strikes a more conciliatory tone, avoiding direct lecturing on what Indian officials consider domestic issues, despite his prior commitment to human rights as a core agenda item.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusation linking the Indian government to the assassination of a Sikh separatist last September certainly added strain to U.S.-India relations. Garcetti, showing professionalism, was able to downplay the incident, emphasizing that such moments don’t define the relationship.

Garcetti’s return to elected office is still uncertain, even though his diplomatic role gives him experience in foreign policy and a strong ally in President Biden. Black Lives Matter protests during his turbulent resignation as mayor could present difficulties. Garcetti’s political career is far from ended, though, given his political strengths, which include his loyalty and political savvy. Using his connections and experience when he returns to California, Garcetti sees a robust U.S.-Indian relationship as a pivotal chapter in his future in New Delhi. Whether Garcetti’s tenacious and devoted strategy will result in political serendipity in his pursuit of higher office remains to be seen.