US Vice President Kamala Harris shared how India is a "very important" part of her life and how deeply she is connected to the country. Addressing a luncheon hosted by her and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in honour of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Harris noted that the history and teachings of India have not only influenced her but have shaped the entire world.
Harris shared how India has inspired millions of people around the globe throughout history with regard to philosophy and theology, the power of civil disobedience, and the commitment to democracy.
Kamala Harris On Visiting India
Harris also recalled her visits to India during her childhood. She shared that when she and her sister Maya were growing up, their mothers would take them to India almost every year. She said that the trips were so that they would understand where they came from and what produced them. She recalled spending time with her grandparents, uncles, and aunts and understanding the love for good idli.
She added that they travelled to India when Chennai was called Madras and shared that her grandfather was one of her favourite people in her life. She revealed that they were penpals throughout her childhood and added that he had a great influence on her.
She also added that her grandfather, like she thinks he would have done with each of his grandchildren, convinced her that she was his favourite grandchild.
Kamala Harris On Her Grandfather
She recalled how she was the only family member whom her grandfather allowed to accompany him for his morning routine. Her grandfather was a retired civil servant and used to consistently take long walks on the beach with his retired friends and debate about the issues of the day.
She fondly recalled how she used to hold her grandfather’s hands during these walks and listen intently to the conversations. She disclosed that although she didn’t completely appreciate the significance of the debate as a child, she did recall that she understood stories of freedom fighters, the country's founding heroes, and the independence of the country. She also said that she recalls them talking about fighting corruption and fighting for equality regardless of one’s beliefs or caste.
Harris noted that her conversations with her grandfather largely influenced her thinking from a very young age. She also narrated how her grandfather taught her lessons about what it meant to have a democracy and how to keep one. She mentioned that these lessons had inspired her to find her interest in public service. Looking back, she said those conversations have influenced her and her thinking and have been guiding her ever since.
She shared that a large part of who she was was because of the lessons that she learned from her grandfather PV Gopalan and from her mother Shyamala’s dedication, determination, and courage. She proudly said that that was the reason she was standing before the world as the vice president of the United States.
She also thanked PM Modi for his leadership and his pivotal role in helping India emerge as a global power in the 21st century. She added that as the chair of the National Space Council, she thanked Modi for his leadership and for the joint work on the Earth Science Satellite, which helped to address the climate crisis. Harris also thanked Modi for joining the Artemis Accords, a commitment to the safe and transparent use of space.