"The US simply has lost nearly all its credibility when it comes to issues of democracy and basic freedoms."

"Frankly, when it comes to democracy and governance, America is now Ground Zero," Milan Vaishnav, Director and Senior Fellow, South Asia Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, tells Rediff.com's Archana Masih.

With the likelihood of Indian-Americans former US surgeon general Vivek Murthy and Stanford professor Arun Majumdar finding a place in President-elect Joe Biden's cabinet, what enhanced role do you see for the community in the affairs of the new administration?

I believe that we will see an unprecedented number of Indian Americans serving in key positions in the Biden administration.

If you look at the corridors of Capitol Hill, the people staffing the transition, those working on the campaign -- there are a significant (and growing) number of people of Indian origin.

I expect a large number will end up in some of the more than 4,000 political appointee positions subject to the President's discretion.

Traditionally, there has been a lot more focus on Indian Americans holding elected office. And that makes sense since they are more visible. But we should not lose sight of the fact that, when it comes to the executive branch, much of the power is actually invisible because it is exercised mostly behind-the-scenes.

Read Full Text

This interview was originally published in Rediff.