The US State Department announced this week that it was sending Elizabeth Jones to the US embassy in New Delhi as chargé d’affaires ad interim, again temporarily filling a key diplomatic post that has been vacant for nearly two years.
Jones, who is currently the coordinator for Afghan relocation efforts, is the fifth temporary appointment to India. The US ambassador position has remained vacant since January 2021, when President Joe Biden took office. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was nominated for the position in July 2021, but his confirmation has remained in limbo in the US Senate.
In a statement released on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the US-India partnership as the “most consequential in the world”. With an eye on Beijing, the US has been striving to deepen its cooperation with India, a central cog in Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
The two countries are currently working together under initiatives such as the Quad Security Dialogue, a four-nation bloc that also includes Japan and Australia, which aims to counter China as its influence grows in the Indo-Pacific region. India is also a member of the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, established to mitigate the effects of China’s economic “coercion” of neighboring Southeast Asian nations.