Kamala Harris is not a friend of India – Biswaraj Patnaik

Joe Biden & Kamala Harris

Biswaraj PatnaikKamala Harris is a devout disciple and a blind follower of President Biden, whose heavy leaning towards Pakistan and keenness to chide and control India are well-known. – Biswaraj Patnaik

When Kamala Harris was made the attorney general of California in 2011, Indians everywhere rejoiced like crazy. In 2017, she became the senator of California and Indians in India imagined America had turned a true friend of India’s.

In 2020, she was elected vice president of the United States. The joy of Indians across the world knew no bounds. They became relieved that America was fully captured, most of them believing Kamala is a gift from God and she would benefit India incredibly by facilitating such Indo-US association as never before. The two leading democracies are one and the same, they thrilled saying.

But the harsh truth is that Kamala is just not bothered about India, where she has deep roots. Madam Harris is a hardcore American who views India with a great deal of suspicion especially after the Modi administration abrogated Article 370 to disintegrate Jammu and Kashmir into union territories and enforce the Indian constitution there fully. More significantly, Harris identifies herself more as Black Afro-American with South-Asian roots.

She has not once taken pride in being known as an Indian-American despite being born of an Indian mother and having spent growing years with the maternal grandparents in Tamil Nadu. She doesn’t feel comfortable in being known as a Hindu either as she is now a practising Baptist married to a Jew. She enjoys being lauded as the second “Black” woman rather than the first “Indian” to be elected to the Senate. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan, an eminent Tamil biologist researching on the progesterone receptor gene stimulated advances in breast cancer, had arrived in the United States from India in 1958 as a 19-year-old graduate student in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her father Donald J. Harris was a Stanford University professor emeritus of economics, who arrived in the US from British Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at the same university where he received a PhD in economics in 1966.

The Biden-Harris team’s stand towards India is of course not respectable or friendly in any manner. Predominantly anti-India, Biden is a recipient of Pakistan’s second-highest civilian award Hilal-e-Pakistan in 2015 for introducing a $1.5-billion non-military annual grant to Islamabad between 2010 and 2014. He has been openly vocal against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), showing his displeasure against these laws, and promising the world community that if he was elected, he would raise the issue of Kashmir at international forums to upset India’s move on J&K.

Biden has had a deep influence on Pakistan politics as he was responsible for convincing General Pervez Musharraf to switch from being a military dictator to a democratically-elected leader. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani in 2009 had screamed joyously, “Our very own Mr Biden has done a lot for Pakistan.”

Recently, Biden’s campaign page carried a policy paper that conclusively flayed India’s CAA and NRC as irreconcilable things that negate and bruise the country’s age-old traditions of secularism, multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy. He has grand plans of hosting an Eid gathering at the White House this year and making truly liberal immigration policies to suit Pakistanis. Biden has also plans to host a global democracy summit to focus on supporting all democracies again, clearly hinting at helping Pakistan and combating rising authoritarianism, which, experts say, is a sly warning to Narendra Modi. Biden removed Amit Jani, the official in-charge of a Muslim outreach programme, because of Jani family’s closeness to the Bharatiya Janata Party and Modi.

This was seen as Islamophobia by some and reported via petitions. Biden selecting Harris as his running mate should not come as a surprise because Harris too had made statements like “we have to remind Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world”.

She was also outraged when S. Jaishankar, India’s external minister, sought to exclude Indian-American congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who had been critical of Modi’s Kashmir policy, from a briefing he was holding on Capitol Hill last year. Rudra Chaudhuri, author of the book Forged in Crisis: India and the United States Since 1947, had said quite in good time “conditions in Kashmir and other civil liberties issues would gain adverse prominence in the US-India relationship if Mr Biden were elected”.

Harris made it a point to publicly demonstrate her displeasure over the “Jaishankar denying Ms Jaypal” issue. She is a devout disciple and a blind follower of President Biden, whose heavy leaning towards Pakistan and keenness to chide and control India are well-known.

Further, Kamala is great friend to Alexander Soros, son of George Soros, who had viciously attacked Modi at Davos at the World Economic Forum saying, “In India, a democratically-elected Narendra Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state, imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, a semi-autonomous Muslim region, and threatening to deprive millions of Muslims of their citizenship.” Soros runs an NGO called Open Society Foundation’s Human Rights Initiative, whose advisory board chairman is the controversial Indian activist Harsh Mander accused in the Shaheen Bagh case for instigation and other crimes. Mander is very close to the Gandhi family members and has received donations for his NGO from them.

So, the man, who is funding Congress-linked NGOs and a person who is actively involved in disturbing peace in the country by instigating rioters, can never be considered friend to India. Obviously, all this is to make Modi look bad in the global arena. Thus, we have no good enough reason to celebrate the elevation of Kamala Harris.

And while these dichotomous facets of her life are likely to face more scrutiny, what may ultimately work to Harris’ advantage is, perhaps, not to be hemmed in by one or the other.

Tulsi Gabbard, a born American Hindu convert, is any day a bigger India lover and Hindu who is frantic to see India and the US remain great friends on all fronts. She is an American politician and a US army reserve officer who served as the US representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district from 2013 to 2021.

Elected in 2012, she was the first Hindu member of Congress and also the first Samoan-American voting member of Congress. From time to time, Tulsi keeps hammering Ms Harris for having messed up several criminal cases during her Attorney General tenure.

It is plain delusion that Harris is an Indian by spirit and, more importantly, her becoming US vice president would be good for India. She is no friend of India and makes no secret of it.

So, we have no reason to celebrate her elevation. Trump may have been wild and crazy, but he was rabidly against the India-hating politicians of China and Pakistan. He had healed much hurt and injury in the India-US relationship, perhaps for the first time ever in fifty years since the John Kennedy-Nehru camaraderie of the 1960s. – The Pioneer, 11 February 2021

Biswaraj Patnaik writes for The Pioneer from Puri, Odisha.

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