It seems India’s time is here. Be it any corporate or government positions, Indians are calling the shots everywhere. To name a few, countries like the United States of America, UK, Canada and so on, Indians are playing significant leadership roles. The US President, Joe Biden has so far appointed more than 130 Indian-Americans to key positions in his administration, the best representation from the community that makes up around one per cent of the American population. Biden, who has maintained a close relationship with the community since his Senator days and made history in 2020 by selecting Indian-origin Kamala Harris as his running mate.
The list of Indian-Americans in the White House as compiled by Indiaspora is a reflection of the same. His speech writer is Vinay Reddy, while his main advisor on COVID-19 is Dr Ashish Jha, his advisor on climate policy is Sonia Aggarwal, special assistant on criminal justice is Chiraag Bains, Kiran Ahuja heads the Office of Personnel Management, Neera Tanden is his senior advisor, and Rahul Gupta is his drug czar. Not only politically, Indian-Americans Sunder Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, and over two dozen Indian-Americans are heading US companies. Among others include Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Vivek Lall of General Atomics, Punit Renjen of Deloitte, Raj Subramaniam of FedEx.
Latest in the race is an Indian American entrepreneur, Vivek Ramaswamy, announcing his US presidential election bid for 2024, joining Nikki Haley in the Republican Party’s presidential primary. Ramaswamy said, “This isn’t just a political campaign; this is a cultural movement to create a new dream for the next generation of Americans.” Dubbed as the “CEO of Anti-Woke Inc” by the New Yorker magazine, Ramaswamy has entered his presidential bid with the promise to “put merit back” and end dependence on China. He filed a statement of candidacy and created a presidential committee with the Federal Election Commission. Born in August 1985 in Ohio’s Cincinnati, Ramaswamy is the son of Indian immigrants who moved to the US from Kerala. While his father worked at the General Electric Plant in Evendale, Ohio, his mother was a geriatric psychiatrist in Cincinnati. Ramaswamy finished his undergraduate studies, majoring in Biology from Harvard College in 2007, and later went to Yale Law School to pursue a Doctor of Jurisprudence.
He joins a large number of Indian-Americans who are now being appointed to high-profile positions, with US Vice President, Kamala Harris being the other popular figure. Ramaswamy joins the Republican field following Former president Donald Trump and former South Carolina governor and former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s presidential bid announcement who also happens to have Indian roots!
Nimrata Nikki Randhawa’s parents too were Indian immigrants. Nikki was born and bought up in America. In 2010 Haley ran for governor of South Carolina, earning the backing of the Tea Party Movement, notably Sarah Palin. It was a bitter campaign—with Haley being subjected to racial slurs and accusations of infidelity—but she defeated more experienced candidates in the primary and went on to win the general election. When she took office in 2011, she made history as the first woman and the first person of an ethnic minority to hold the governorship. During her first term South Carolina’s economy grew steadily as the jobless rate fell. Haley easily won reelection in 2014.
On the other hand, another Indian-American business executive Ajay Banga was nominated by the US President, Joe Biden to head the World Bank. Banga, 63, will be the first Indian-American to head the World Bank. Raised and educated in India, Banga started his career with Nestle in 1981. He went on to join Pepsico and then Citigroup. He was also the president and CEO of Mastercard, the financial services company. Soon Banga met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York in 2014, just after the latter was elected, the two discussed India’s prospects in the US business community.
In a statement from Biden, meanwhile, he was described as being “uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history”. The statement added, “Raised in India, Ajay has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries and how the World Bank can deliver on its ambitious agenda to reduce poverty and expand prosperity.” In a separate statement, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said of Banga, “His efforts have helped bring 500 million unbanked people into the digital economy.”
Over the years, he has often emphasised on financial inclusion of the poor through digital means. In short, Indians have come a long way and while it has been an uphill task of proving ourselves, India for sure is now looked upon in playing a significant role shaping the world for better. Be it the only nation to have exported the vaccines to other countries in the pandemic times to leading from front in the recent Turkyie earthquake, people believe: “If it is India, it is possible”!