TORONTO: Rishi Sunak made history on Tuesday by becoming the first Indian-origin Prime Minister of UK after being elected unopposed as the new leader of the governing Conservative Party on Diwali.
Sunak, 42, former Chancellor of Exchequer, is the youngest British prime minister in nearly 210 years.
Sunak, who describes himself as a “proud Hindu”, was born in Southampton to Indian parents who moved to the UK from east Africa in the 1960s.
He joins a growing list of Indian-origin leaders who occupy important positions in governments around the world.
Here’s a look at some prominent Indian-origin leaders in other countries:
Kamala Harris | US
Kamala Harris is the first female, first Black, first Indian-American and first Asian vice president of the US.
The 56-year-old California senator is one of only three Asian Americans in the Senate and she’s the first Indian-American ever to serve in the chamber.
Harris was born to two immigrant parents: a Black father and an Indian mother. Her father, Donald Harris, was from Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist from Chennai. She, however, defines herself simply as ‘American’.
Pravind Jugnauth | Mauritius
Pravind Jugnauth, the Indian-origin Prime Minister of Mauritius assumed office on January 1, 2017.
He is the son of Anerood Jugnauth, who served as former President and Prime Minister of Mauritius.
Jugnauth has been the leader of the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) party since April 2003.
He has held a number of ministerial portfolios and also been Leader of the Opposition.
Antonio Costa | Portugal
Antonio Costa assumed office as Prime Minster of Portugal on November 26, 2015.
He is half Portuguese and half Indian; his father was born in Maputo, Mozambique, to a Goan family.
Costa graduated from the University of Lisbon in 1980 and served as a lawyer before foraying into politics.
Costa won his third mandate with 117 parliamentary seats – the Socialist Party’s only second full majority in Portugal’s democratic history.
Mohammed Irfaan Ali | Guayana
Mohammed Irfaan Ali is the current and first-ever Muslim President of Guyana. He was sworn into office on August 1, 2020, as the President of Guyana. The 42-year-old served as the Minister of Housing and Minister of Tourism and Commerce before becoming the President.
Ali is one of two sons of his parents, who are both educators. He was born on April 25, 1980, into a Muslim, Indo-Guyanese family at Leonora, West Coast Demarara.
Prithvirajsing Roopun | Mauritius
Prithvirajsing Roopun was elected as the seventh President of Mauritius in 2019. Born in a suburb of Quatre Bornes, Prithvirajsing joined politics in 1983.
He was born in an Indian Arya Samaji Hindu family and grew up in Morcellement St. Jean, a suburb of Quatre Bornes. Roopun served in the capacity of a Minister in several ministries before being elected as the President of Mauritius.
Chandrikapersad Santokhi | Suriname
Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi is a Surinamese politician and former police officer who has served as the country’s ninth president since 2020.
Santokhi was Suriname’s sole presidential candidate after winning the 2020 elections. Santokhi was elected president by acclamation on July 13, in an uncontested election. He was born in 1959 in Lelydorp, Suriname, to an Indo-Surinamese Hindu family.
Leo Varadkar | Ireland
Leo Varadhkar is an Irish politician who became the leader of the Fine Gael party and has previously served as Taoiseach and Minister for Defence from 2017 to 2020.
Born on 18 January 1979 in Dublin, Varadkar is the youngest of three children. His family also lived in Leicester and briefly in India.
His father was born in Mumbai, and moved to the United Kingdom in the 1960s, to work as a doctor.
Varadkar’s mother was an Irish-born nurse, and his father, an Indian-born physician, met while working together in England.