He says U.S. Vice-President-elect could express her view on the present situation in Kashmir as well

Kamala Harris will speak out on issues that are important to her, says the maternal uncle of the U.S. Vice-President-elect.

Speaking to The Hindu, G. Balachandran, policy commentator and technology expert, said here on Sunday that Ms. Harris was raised by her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who participated in the civil rights movement in the U.S. in the 1960s, and she may choose to speak out on human rights-related issues in India.

“She will speak out if she is moved by something. You may not want her to say that but she will say, ‘I am sorry but I will have to say this,’” Mr. Balachandran said.

He said Ms. Harris would not keep quiet if she disagreed with something happening in India. Ms. Harris, he said, drew from the rich legacy of civil rights championed by her mother, a biomedical scientist, who left a strong impression on her.

“Shyamala contributed immensely to the legacy of human rights in the U.S. Her contribution on that front is much greater than that of Kamala’s,” said Mr. Balachandran, who worked as a consultant at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. He maintained that the election result had sent a message of hope to the world.


The Biden-Harris campaign had maintained that India should restore civil and political rights in Kashmir, and Ms. Harris had indicated her disapproval after the August 5 decision last year on ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. When asked about the issue, Ms. Harris had said, “We are all watching.”

Mr. Balachandran felt his niece could speak on the present situation in Kashmir as well.

“Do not think that just because India has done something … she will keep quiet on that. She has spoken on issues like Kashmir earlier,” he said.

‘Global issues’

Speaking out on issues of global relevance will be the hallmark of the Biden-Harris administration as the election mandate is for bringing the U.S. into the global mainstream, as opposed to the policy of President Donald Trump, who had withdrawn the country from many of the international and multilateral obligations.

“The result is inspiring a lot of people all over the world because it indicates that the U.S. will return to the global mainstream, which is a good thing,” said Mr. Balachandran, who said the entire Indian part of Ms. Harris’s family is planning to attend the swearing-in on January 20.

“I attended the swearing-in ceremony when she became a Senator and I will be in Washington DC this time as well. All of us will be there when she takes the oath of office,” Mr. Balachandran said.

He is the brother of the Chennai-born Shyamala, who passed away in 2009.

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