Cricket, UPI & chhole bhature — US ambassador marks one year in India with a video


New Delhi: Former Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has completed one year as the United States’ ambassador to India and decided to celebrate the work anniversary in style.

In a video posted on X, he gave a three-minute brief of his time in office, saying there were “lots of accomplishments” ably supported by “lots of desi kadak chai”.

“I never thought I’d have the honour and privilege of representing my country here in India,” he said, showcasing the loads of “paperwork”. Moving a trolley of passports, he congratulated his team for processing 1.4 million visas in the last one year.

“Arguably over the last 76 years, maybe 2023 was the most productive year in our entire history,” he said. Highlighting the $200-billion trade between the two countries and reductions in tariffs, the US ambassador walked viewers through the “year in review”.

The US was India’s largest trade partner in 2022-2023, only to be replaced by China this year.

After a long vacancy of over two years and an extended stalling of his appointment, Garcetti was finally sent to India as ambassador last year.

He talked about the two countries’ cooperation from the “seabed to the stars”, citing the “record number of the joint military exercises” and the huge strides taken in developing NISAR — the first satellite jointly being made by ISRO and NASA.

NISAR is one of the most expensive earth-imaging satellites in the world, costing over $1.5 billion, and is aimed at observing ecosystem disturbances, ice-sheet collapse, and other calamities. It hopes to achieve a better understanding of natural resources and predicting disasters.

“Theek bola?” he asked an Indian staff member in Hindi as he cited the cooperation between the two countries in building climate resilience through the financing of 10,000 electric buses and solar plants in the country.

At a time when India’s food and medical exports are witnessing scrutiny, he spoke of the joint research in vaccine development for dengue and malaria among others.

“UPI gazab hai,” he said, as he declared his love for Indian food, especially chhole bhature, while making a digital payment.

He also shared his love for domestic travel and the gifts and friends he “picked up” in the 22 states and Union territories he has visited. “From diving into vibrant cultures to strengthening the bond between our nations, every moment has been incredible,” he wrote in his post.

Calling India-US relations a “new foundation” and not a peak, the US ambassador said he could hardly wait to see what came next as “there is nothing holding us back”.

Garcetti was also seen hitting a cricket ball while asserting that the sport would be part of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. The shot was followed by the sound of shattering glass.

(Edited by Tikli Basu)

Also read: India bought Russian crude because ‘we wanted somebody to’, says US Ambassador Eric Garcetti


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