Harris to meet with Modi in ‘coming-of-age’ moment for Indian diaspora

By Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times |

Harris and Modi will discuss regional issues, including democracy, human rights, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and security, according to a senior administration official who would brief reporters only on the condition of anonymity. The two spoke by phone over the summer as India suffered one of the world’s deadliest waves of COVID-19, and Harris met virtually with Modi as part of a Quad meeting in March.

The Indian government is generally pleased with the Biden administration’s emphasis on Asia but is concerned about the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan and how that might affect regional stability and the increased risk of terrorism, Vaishnav said.

Vaishnav said he expects Modi will also bring up immigration and other issues important to Indians who have moved abroad.

Indian Americans are one of the fastest-growing political forces in the United States. Harris, whose mother was born in India, attracted donations, votes and attention from Indian Americans during her political rise to the U.S. Senate and the vice presidency.

Her career, political stances and even the activism of her niece — social media influencer Meena Harris — have been chronicled by the Indian media.

Some Indians and Indian Americans would like to see Harris, whose father was born in Jamaica, identify more closely with her mother’s traditions.

“That’s been a running critique for Harris for a while because she does identify as a Black woman and [went] to [Howard], a historically Black university, and many parts of her identity, including the way her mother raised her, were ensconced in the Black experience,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a public policy professor at UC Riverside who has been tracking Indian American public opinion since 2008.