India World

Kamala Harris reminds Narendra Modi and herself to ‘defend democratic principles and institutions’

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US Vice-President Kamala Harris in Washington on Thursday, marking the first in-person meeting of Mr Modi and the highest-ranking Indian American in US history.

Ms Harris is the first woman and first black and south Asian vice-president.

Mr Modi congratulated Ms Harris on her historic position and invited her to return the visit.

“The people of India are waiting to welcome you,” he said.

In November, residents of Ms Harris’ ancestral village, Thulasendrapuram, in India’s south, lit fireworks and marched in the street following news of her win.

Mr Modi’s three-day trip ends on Friday, when he will meet President Joe Biden for the first time.

Mr Modi will also attend the so-called “Quad” summit with Mr Biden and leaders of Australia and Japan on Friday, part of a White House effort to boost cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.


Ms Harris, during public remarks at her ceremonial office before the closed-door session, told Mr Modi that as democracies around the world are under threat.

“It is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries.

“I know from personal experience and from my family of the commitment of the Indian people to democracy,” she said.

“The work that needs to be done so that we can begin to imagine, and then actually achieve, our vision for democratic principles and institutions.”

The remarks marked a subtle change from the Trump administration’s disregard of human rights violation under Mr Modi.

Mr Modi has been in power from 2014, since then there has been an increase in religious polarization in India, with more laws targeting religious minorities, including India’s large Muslim population, as well as non-Hindus.