Washington, Jan 17: US President-elect Joe Biden has nominated at least 20 Indian-Americans, including 13 women, to key positions in his incoming administration, a record for the small ethnic community that constitutes one per cent of America’s population.
As many as 17 of them, including Neera Tanden who has been nominated as the Director of Management and Budget, would be part of the Biden administration in the powerful White House complex.
The January 20 inauguration, the 59th in all, where Biden, 78, would be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, is already historic in the making as for the first time ever a woman, Kamala Harris, would be sworn in as the Vice President of the country.
Harris, 56, is also the first ever Indian-origin and African-American to be sworn in as the Vice President of the United States.
It is also for the first time ever that so many Indian-Americans have been roped into a presidential administration ever before the inauguration. Biden, a Democrat, is still quite far away from
filling all the positions in his
Topping the list is Tanden, who has been nominated as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and Dr Vivek Murthy, who has been nominated as the US Surgeon General.
Vanita Gupta has been nominated as Associate Attorney General, Department of Justice, and on Saturday, Biden nominated former foreign service official Uzra Zeya as the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.
Mala Adiga has been appointed as Policy Director to the future First Lady Dr Jill Biden and Garima Verma would be the Digital Director of the Office of the First Lady, while Sabrina Singh has been named as the White House Deputy Press Secretary.
For the first time, the Indian-Americans nominated for Biden administration include two who trace their roots to Kashmir: Aisha Shah, who has been named as Partnership Manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy and Sameera Fazili, who would occupy the key position of Deputy Director at the US National Economic Council (NEC) in the White House.
White House National Economic Council also has another Indian-American, Bharat Ramamurti, as Deputy Director. Gautam Raghavan, who served at the White House in the previous Obama administration returns to the White House as Deputy Director in Office of Presidential Personnel.
Among Biden’s inner circle is his top confidant for years Vinay Reddy, who has been named as Director Speechwriting. Young Vedant Patel is all set to occupy a seat in the White House lower press, behind the briefing room, as Assistant Press Secretary to the President. He is only the third-ever Indian American to be part of the White House press shop.
Three Indian-Americans have made their way to the crucial National Security Council of the White House, thus leaving a permanent imprint on the country’s foreign policy and national security.
They are Tarun Chhabra, Senior Director for Technology and National Security; Sumona Guha, Senior Director for South Asia; and Shanthi Kalathil, Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights.
Sonia Aggarwal has been named Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Innovation in the Office of the Domestic Climate Policy at the White House and Vidur Sharma has been appointed as Policy Advisor for Testing for the White House COVID-19 Response Team.
Two Indian-American women have been appointed to the Office of the White House Counsel – Neha Gupta as Associate Counsel and Reema Shah as Deputy Associate Counsel.
Also, for the first time in any administration, the White House would have three other South Asians in key positions – Pakistani-American Ali Zaidi as Deputy National Climate Advisor, White House; Sri Lankan-American Rohini Kosoglu as Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President and Bangladeshi-American Zayn Siddique as Senior Advisor to the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. – PTI