US President Joe Biden has appointed more than 130 Indian-Americans to key positions in his administration so far, the best representation from the community that makes up around one per cent of the American population. In doing so he has not only fulfilled his promise to the community that he had made as a presidential candidate in 2020, but also shattered the record of his predecessor Donald Trump who had appointed more than 80 Indian-Americans and his previous boss Barack Obama, who had appointed over 60 Indian-Americans to key positions during his eight years of presidency.
More than 40 Indian-Americans have been elected at various state and federal levels including four in the US House of Representatives. Not to miss the more than 20 Indian-Americans leading top US companies. While the first-ever presidential appointment was done during the time of Ronald Regan, this time Biden has appointed Indian-Americans to almost all departments and agencies of his administration.
“Indian-Americans have been imbued with the sense of seva (service) and this is reflected in their enthusiasm to pursue positions in public service instead of the private sector,” Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, philanthropist and venture capitalist M R Rangaswami told PTI. “The Biden administration has now appointed or nominated the largest group to date and needless to say we are proud of our people and their accomplishments for the United States,” Rangaswami said. Rangaswami is founder and head of Indiaspora, a US-based global organization for Indian-origin leaders. Indiaspora keeps a track of Indian-origin leaders.
Biden, who has maintained a close relationship with the community since his Senator days, often jokes around about his Indian relationship. He 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 reflects that there would be only a few meetings inside the White House or in Biden’s Oval Office that would not have an Indian-American presence.
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. Last week when India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, hosted a reception at India House on the occasion of Independence Day, Indian-Americans from his administration were representing almost all major branches of the US government.
Young Vedant Patel is now the Deputy Spokesperson at the Department of State, while Garima Verma is the Digital Director in the Office of the First Lady. Biden has also nominated several Indian-Americans to key ambassadorial positions. According to the list prepared by Indiaspora, more than 40 Indian-Americans have been elected to various offices across the country. Four are in the House of Representatives — Dr Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal. This includes four Mayors.
Led by Indian-Americans Sunder Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, there are over two dozen Indian-Americans heading US companies. Among others include Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Vivek Lall of General Atomics, Punit Renjen of Deloitte, Raj Subramaniam of FedEx.