Kamala Harris’ India view: America First

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Kamala Harris makes history as the first woman set to become vice president. She is also the first South Asian and woman of colour to hold this office. As Harris takes the reigns of the vice president’s office, all eyes will be on her perspective on India.

“Indians are celebrating the rise of one of their own in the United States. But a Biden administration won’t give New Delhi a free pass,” notes Foreign Policy in a recent article. So just what must India expect from Harris? What’s her take on key issues?

  • Kamala Harris is pro-immigrants and has spoken in favour of immigrant women seeking jobs.
  • She pushed for the H-4 visas given to spouses of H-1B visa holders. Harris wrote a letter urging Homeland Security Department not to revoke employment authorisation for roughly 100,000 high-skilled immigrant women currently covered under the H-4 rule.
  • Harris was against Donald Trump’s muslim immigrant ban.
  • On Kashmir, Harris made a statement while on campaign trail. “We have to remind Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world,” Harris said in September 2019 while on the campaign trail. “We are keeping track of the situation. There is a need to intervene if the situation demands.”
  • Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi pointed out that Democrats have been traditionally been more anti-India than Republicans. Could this be similar for Biden-Harris? All eyes will be on her.

  • A controversial incident had Harris criticise India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on one of his recent trips to Washington. Jaishankar had refused to meet members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee if Rep. Pramila Jayapal was part of the meeting. Jayapal is considered a critic of India’s policy on Kashmir. Kamala Harris had noted, “It’s wrong for any foreign government to tell Congress what members are allowed in meetings on Capitol Hill.”
  • Kamala Harris Indian roots come up in many of her conversations, public presence and speeches. Harris talks about walking with her grandfather on a beach and talks about her village in Tamil Nadu
  • In a detailed feature SheThePeople did on Shyamala Gopalan Harris, Kamala’s mom, it’s clear Harris celebrates her Indian heritage and admires her mom for single-handedly raising two daughters while balancing her career.
  • “Indians must accept that Kamala Harris is an American politician, no more and no less,” notes journalist Sandipan Deb in a piece for Mint. “She will be an American leader, and she is likely to do what she believes, rightly or wrongly, to be best for America and herself. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is our hopes, driven by emotions that only make us weak.”