WASHINGTON – A list of more than 200 leaders of Indian heritage who have ascended to the highest echelons of public service in 15 countries across the globe, with more than 60 of these leaders holding Cabinet positions, was unveiled Feb. 15, according to an ANI report. Indiaspora, a U.S.-based nonprofit community of global Indian diaspora leaders from various backgrounds and professions, released the list on the occasion of President's Day.
"It is a huge source of pride to have the first woman and first person of color as the vice president of the world's oldest democracy be someone of Indian heritage. We wanted to use this seminal moment on Presidents' Day to highlight a host of others in the diaspora who also are in public service," said Indiaspora founder MR Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley-based Indian American entrepreneur and investor.
The list also includes diplomats, legislators, heads of central banks and senior civil servants from countries with significant histories of diaspora migration, such as Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
"It is an honor to be included on the 2021 Indiaspora Government Leaders List. As the longest-serving Indian American member of Congress, I am proud to be a leader in the Indian American community, which has become an integral part of American life and society," said Congressman Ami Bera, chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia.
With more than 32 million people of Indian origin globally, according to India's Ministry of External Affairs, Indians are the largest diaspora population in the world.
The officials on the 2021 Indiaspora Government Leaders List collectively represent more than 587 million constituents, and their countries account for an estimated $28 trillion in GDP, demonstrating the impact that these leaders are having globally.
"It truly is inspiring to note the remarkable contribution that government leaders of Indian heritage have made to advance the societies that they now represent," said Rosy Akbar, Fiji's Minister of Education, Heritage, and Arts. "For a sizable segment of the population, it is government policy addressing social injustices that lead to a transformative path of sustainable socio-economic progress."
The list also includes immigrants from India, as well as professionals born in countries such as Singapore, South Africa, England, Canada and the U.S.
While some of the officials are part of their country's first wave of immigration, arriving as refugees or for economic opportunities, others serving in their governments are part of subsequent waves of diaspora, who came for educational opportunities, or are of subsequent generations.
"It is inspiring to see the number of Indian diaspora who are entering the public arena," said Indiaspora board member Arun Kumar, chairman and CEO at KPMG India, who served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration.
According to the Indiaspora list, there are nearly 4 million people of Indian descent living in the United States; over 1% of the total population of the country as of 2018. Indians are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, and about 6% of the country’s foreign-born population is Indian, making them the second largest immigrant group in the country after Mexicans.
It adds: Being one of the largest immigrant populations in the United States, Indians have become a powerful force in various sectors, including tech, business and government. The prominence of Indians in the American political sphere is especially apparent this year, as Kamala Harris, a woman who is half Indian on her mother’s side, has become the vice president of the United States. However, it is not only in very recent years that Indian Americans gained prominent government positions in the U.S. In 1956, Dalip Singh Saund became the first person of Asian descent to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
Following is the Indiaspora list for the U.S. by category:
Deputy Heads of Government: Kamala Harris, Vice President.
Cabinet and Ministers: Neera Tanden, Nominee for Office of Management and Budget Director.
Parliamentarians and Federal Legislators: Ami Bera, California Representative; Pramila Jayapal, Washington Representative; Ro Khanna, California Representative; Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois Representative.
Additional U.S. Federal, State and Local Leaders, Biden Administration Appointees: Mala Adiga, Policy Director to Dr. Jill Biden; Sonia Aggarwal, Climate Policy Advisor to President Biden; Amit Bose, Deputy Director, Federal Railroad Administration; Sohini Chatterjee, Senior policy advisor to U.S. Ambassador to UN; Dimple Chaudhary, Deputy General Counsel for Nationwide Resource Protection Programs, Environmental Protection Agency; Tarun Chhabra, Senior Director for Technology and National Security; Rachit Choksi, Director for Oversight, Office of the Secretary, Department of Commerce; Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Sharmistha Das, Deputy General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security; Tanya Das, Chief of Staff, Office of Science, Department of Energy; Rush Doshi; Senior China Director on the National Security Council; Pritesh Gandhi, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Homeland Security; Michael C. George, Policy Advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris; Aditi Gorur, Policy Advisor to U.S. Ambassador to UN; Mili Gosar, Deputy Chief of Staff- Operations in the Department of Interior; Sumona Guha, Senior Director for South Asia in the White House National Security Counsel;
Neha Gupta, Associate Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel; Vanita Gupta, Nominee, Associate Attorney General, Department of Justice; Subhash Iyer, Chief Counsel, Federal Transit Administration, Department of Transportation; Dev Jagadesan, Acting Chief Executive Officer, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation; Ruchi Jain, Deputy Solicitor for General Law, Department of Interior; Meera Joshi, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Shanthi Kalathil, Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights; Aruna Kalyanam, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax and Budget, Department of the Treasury; Satyam Khanna, Senior policy advisor for climate and ESG, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Sri Preston Kulkarni, Chief of External Affairs at AmeriCorps; Bhavya Lal, National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
Vivek Murthy, Nominee, Surgeon General; Raj Nayak, Department of Labor; Sonali Nijhawan, Director of AmeriCorps State and National; Raj Panjabi, President's Malaria Coordinator; Vedant Patel, Assistant White House Press Secretary; Sandeep Prasanna, Attorney Advisor, Office of Legislative Affairs, Department of Justice; Gautam Raghavan, Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel; Bharat Ramamurti, Deputy Director of National Economic Council; Vinay Reddy, Director of Speechwriting; Tanya Sehgal, Special Counsel and Senior Advisor, Office of Personnel Management; Aisha Shah, Partnerships Manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy; Reema Shah, Deputy Associate Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel;
Tarak Shah, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Energy; Vidur Sharma, Policy Advisor for Testing at the White House; Daleep Singh, Deputy National Security Adviser; Sabrina Singh, White House Deputy Press Secretary; Varun Sivaram, Senior Adviser to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate; Narayan Subramanian, Legal Advisor, Office of General Counsel, Department of Energy; Fatema Z. Sumar, VP, Department of Compact Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation; Shuchi Talati, Chief of Staff, Office of Fossil Energy; Neera Tanden, Nominee, Director of Office of Management and Budget; Mini Timmaraju, Senior Advisor, Director, Office of Personnel Management; Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health IT; Garima Verma, Digital Director in the Office of The First Lady; Uzra Zeya, Nominee, Under Secretary of State, Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Department of State.
U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals Judges: Neomi Rao, Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; Sri Srinivasan, Chief Judge of U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; Amul Thapar, Judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
U.S. State Leaders: Niraj Antani, Ohio Senator; Harry Arora, Connecticut Representative; Kumar Barve, Maryland Delegate; Jay Chaudhuri, North Carolina Senator; Jeremy Cooney, New York Senator; Mona Das, Washington Senator; Manka Dhingra, Washington Senator; Manju Ganeriwala, Virginia Treasurer; Vin Gopal, New Jersey Senator; Ghazala Hashmi, Virginia Senator; Ash Kalra, California Assemblymember; Nima Kulkarni, Kentucky Representative, Padma Kuppa, Michigan Representative; Zohran Mamdani, New York Assemblymember; Mutjaba Mohammed, North Carolina Senator; Raj Mukherji, New Jersey Assemblymember; Ranjeev Puri, Michigan Representative; Jenifer Rajkumar, New York Assemblymember; Kesha Ram, Vermont Senator; Nikil Saval, Pennsylvania Senator; Amish Shah, Arizona Representative; Vandana Slatter, Washington Representative; Suhas Subramanyam, Virginia Delegate; Shri Thanedar, Michigan Representative; Kevin Thomas, New York Senator.
U.S. Local Leaders: Nida Allam, County Commissioner of Durham, North Carolina; Ravinder Bhalla, Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey; Farrah Khan, Mayor of Irvine, California; Harry Sidhu, Mayor of Anaheim, California.
(With ANI reports)