Two Indian-origin officials in Trump’s delegation to India

Two senior Indian-origin officials will be part of the high-profile delegation accompanying President Donald Trump to India during his two-day visit starting February 24.

Ajit Pai, chairman of the powerful Federal Communications Commission, and Kash Patel, a National Security Council official, are two Indian Americans travelling with President Trump to India.

Mr Pai was born in Kansas and studied at Harvard and the University of Chicago. His parents, who are both doctors from Maharashtra, had immigrated to the US in 1971.

In 2012, Mr Pai joined the Federal Communications Commission, an independent body that regulates the US communications laws and regulations, as one of the body’s five commissioners. President Trump named him to head the organization in 2017. He came into prominence for his opposition to Net Neutrality, the concept that Internet Service Providers cannot discriminate between their network users.

Mr Kash Patel, whose parents are originally from Gujarat, was born in New York. His parents had migrated to the US from East Africa and Canada. He was in the news recently for his role in discrediting the Russia interference probe. He joined the National Security Council’s directorate of international alliance and organization in 2018 and was also given charge of counter-terrorism. He started work this week at the office of the Director of National Intelligence. Mr Patel had also worked for the Republican leadership of the House Intelligence Committee earlier.

The decision to include Indian-Americans in his delegation headed for India is President Donald Trump’s way of acknowledging the rising profile of over 4 million Indian-Americans in the US.

At the Howdy Modi rally in Houston in September 2019, Mr Trump lavished praise on the Indian-American community. “You enrich our culture. You uphold our values. You uplift our communities. You are truly proud to be Americans and we are proud to have you as Americans,” he said.

“You (India) have never had a better friend as President as President Donald Trump,” Trump declared loud cheers from the audience.