So much has been written about America’s first woman vice- president elect and how she broke the glass ceiling that it speaks volumes about her accomplishments. Her “I may be the first but certainly not the last” promises an opportune future at hand. On 20th January, kamala became the first woman of color and of Asian -African decent to take over the office. Though Kamala might cherish her Indian roots but her inclination towards her American identity remains all the same. Therefore, to be complacent about the successful trajectory of Indian- American relation might be a mistake and prove quite presumptuous.
The role of vice president has changed over the years. John Adams the first vice president described it as “the most insignificant” post in US administration. But the role of the 2nd most important position in America has evolved over the years. Where many former presidents turned towards political veterans and political insiders. Kamala stands as an exception to the rule, a political outsider who offers a contrast to veteran Biden’s age, race and gender. So how will the new president elect shape up? Will she be fearless, active and as vocal as Dick Cheney or meek and passive like Mike Pence? Well, we are yet to discover.
Talking about President Joe Biden’s political plan, he played his shorts right. Selecting a woman of color, with Asian African descent who can co-opt with Biden’s more centrist agenda, goes on to display the administration’s commitment to its promises. In her first role, Harris may face inheritance issues, finding her place in the Obama designated veteran west wing proves a challenge. It will be interesting to see how Harris plays out her cards in the quest to settle in the white house.
Pertaining to the American -Indian relations, many might consider Kamala to be pushing for greater bilateral cooperation and extending support. But as a word of caution, it might not be so. Kamala in recent years has been quite vocal about criticizing India for its internal dealings with the matters like abrogation of article 370. The Vice President elect even went to the extent of stating “we have to remind the Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world. We are keeping track of the situation “. This surely doesn’t sound quite assuring and diplomatic. But with Indian bipartisan support, there should not be much complex issues. She ought to go by American interest but at the same time cordial and amicable relations with India should be on vice president’s list of priorities.
Kamala Harris will also prove her poignant role in Donald trump’s impeachment process in the senate. This time, the senate is sharply divided amongst 50 republicans and 50 democrats. She has the tie breaking vote. Last time the senate was divided this sharply was in 2001. The power of ‘breaking vote’ will also lead the Biden administration to push through legislative orders which given normal circumstances would have been arduous. You see, Senate control and approval is crucial when it comes to getting laws passed. This power of “designated as the president of the senate” gives kamala an unrestrained power of action to preside over sessions and break ties.
Thirdly, kamala will play a crucial role in the passage of the $1.9 trillion relief package that Mr. president announced on his first day. According to the reports, kamala has been selected for four crucial roles namely economy, tackling COVID-19, racial justice and addressing climate change.
Kamala has always had a soft spot for the immigrants, as her own mother Shyamala was one in 1960s. This explains why she even pushed for H-4 visas. We can be certain that she will do away with the Trump’s Muslim ban policy which targeted Muslim majority nations and led to discontent amongst them. We will see the dawn of a more liberal immigration laws era under Biden -Harris administration and wrapping up of Trump’s tenacious, restricting immigration laws.
Experts believe that kamala will wield considerable power in the white house. We can be sure of that, as Mr. Biden states in his CNN interview “there’s not a single decision I’ve made yet about personnel or about how to proceed that I haven’t discussed with kamala first”. A successful relationship between kamala and Biden will depend on mutual understanding and cooperation. Kamala also bears an idea of the American dream. Biden, the oldest president in US history, hasn’t made it certain whether he’ll run for the second term. this provides an unadorned opportunity for incumbent Kamala to be next in the line for the 2024 presidential elections. She is aware of the challenges ahead and her pivotal role in uniting a politically divided country, racial and immigration justice and most of all her crucial role in building American- Indian relations. But is this solemn pledge of commitment here to stay? We’ll soon find out.