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For the first time in history, 20 Indian-Americans will be part of the US Government

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (Joe Biden) becomes the 46th president of US on January 20, 2021. As soon as he took the oath of office, Donald Trump’s term as president ended. 

Meanwhile, Kamala Harris made history after swearing-in as the 49th Vice President of US. Kamala is the first woman to hold the country’s second-highest office.

Biden recited the 35-word oath of office swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” in a ceremony administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Soon after this, Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, her hand on a Bible that once belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights icon and Supreme Court justice. 

“This is America’s day, this is democracy’s day,” Joe Biden said as he began his inaugural address. 

“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now,” Biden said, before explicitly acknowledging the devastating toll of the coronavirus in a way Donald Trump never did. 

“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words,” Biden added. “It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.” 

After oath ceremony to the next day at the office, Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations from the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon. Among the actions, the President took were orders to re-join the Paris Climate Accord and end DonaldTrump’s travel ban on Muslim and African countries. 

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said, “The president’s actions will “immediately reverse the elements of the Trump policies that were deeply inhumane and did not reflect our country’s values.’’ 

Indians in Joe Biden's Cabinet 

For the first time in American history, more than 20 Indian-Americans have been appointed or nominated to be part of the American government, 17 of which hold key positions in Joe Biden's team. 

  • Kamala Harris, 56, is also the first-ever Indian-origin and African American to be sworn in as the vice president of the United States.

  • Neera Tanden, who has been nominated as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. 

  • Dr Vivek Murthy, who has been nominated as the US Surgeon General. 

  • Vanita Gupta has been nominated as Associate Attorney General Department of Justice.

  • Uzra Zeya who was foreign service official will now be 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. 

  • Sabrina Singh has been named as her Deputy Press Secretary.  

  • Aisha Shah, who has been named as Partnership Manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy. 

  • 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. 

  • Vinay Reddy, who has been named as Director Speechwriting.  

  • Young Vedant Patel 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. 

  • Tarun Chhabra as Senior Director for Technology and National Security, Sumona Guha, Senior Director for South Asia. 

  • 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. 

  • Vidur Sharma has been appointed as Policy Advisor for Testing for the White House COVID-19 Response Team. 

  • Two Indian Americans women have been appointed to the Office of the White House Counsel: Neha Gupta as Associate Counsel and Reema Shah as Deputy Associate Counsel.

As President, I'll also continue to rely on Indian-American diaspora, that keeps our two nations together, as I have throughout my career, Biden had said in his address to the Indian-American community during a virtual celebration of India's Independence Day on August 15, 2020.  

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