This text is a part of Election 2020: America Votes, FP’s round the clock protection of the U.S. election outcomes as they arrive in, with brief dispatches from correspondents and analysts around the globe. The America Votes web page is free for all readers.
Indian People love Kamala Harris. The daughter of an Indian biologist who moved to america and have become one of many nation’s most revered most cancers researchers, Harris embodies the values of onerous work, mental accomplishment, and political engagement. As a U.S. senator, she pushed for immigration insurance policies favored by the Indian American neighborhood, together with a lifting of country caps on H1-B momentary employment visas and the retention of employment rights for spouses of H1-B visa holders. And Indian People are understandably proud to see one in every of their very own rising to the highest of the U.S. political system.
However good for Indian People doesn’t essentially imply good for the present authorities of India. Quite the opposite: The Biden staff’s priorities (from what we all know up to now) are more likely to drive a wedge between america and continental Asia’s oldest democracy at a time when Washington is searching for new allies in its strategic rivalry with China.
Harris could also be part of that wedge herself. As senator, Harris has been diplomatically circumspect in her few public feedback about India’s authorities however has proven no love for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Get together (BJP). Final 12 months, she even publicly criticized Indian International Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar whereas he was on an official go to to america. Jaishankar had refused to share a platform with U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the Indian American sponsor of a Home of Representatives resolution calling out the Indian authorities for its insurance policies in Kashmir.
Harris’s circle of relatives connection to India might shade her angle. Her mom hailed from Tamil Nadu in southern India, a state through which Modi’s BJP didn’t win a single seat in final 12 months’s nationwide parliamentary elections. The BJP is usually described as a Hindu nationalist get together, however it will also be seen as a regional motion centered on the Hindi heartland of northern India. That regional base has expanded in recent times, however Tamil Nadu—which is sort of 90 p.c Hindu however not Hindi-speaking—stays a bastion of opposition.
Harris herself has been critical of the Indian authorities’s insurance policies in Kashmir and strongly suggested (with out explicitly saying) that she would put human rights on the middle of her method to India—and the rest of the world. That feels like political boilerplate till you notice that in India, “human rights” usually translates as “anti-BJP.” Unable to beat Modi on the polls, his home critics have centered on what they are saying are insurance policies and incitement directed in opposition to minorities, comparable to India’s 172 million Muslims. With Harris within the West Wing, Modi’s opponents in India might all of the sudden have way more leverage at their disposal.