Listing Indian-Origin Leaders Worldwide with Tharman Shanmugaratnam as Singapore's President

Listing Indian-Origin Leaders Worldwide with Tharman Shanmugaratnam as Singapore's President

Tharman became Singapore's third Indian-origin president and received a congratulatory note by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 66-year-old Indian-origin Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Friday became Singapore's ninth President with a landslide victory - securing 70.4% of votes in the recently-concluded elections. With this victory, Shanmugaratnam joins an impressive list of Indian-origin leaders that are dominating world politics.

Tharman's Chinese-origin rivals Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian received 15.72 per cent and 13.88 per cent respectively, the Elections Department said. Tharman became Singapore's third Indian-origin president. He was congratulated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Hearty congratulations @Tharman_s on your election as the President of Singapore. I look forward to working closely with you to further strengthen the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership," PM Modi tweeted.

Listing Indian-Origin Leaders Worldwide with Tharman Shanmugaratnam as Singapore's President
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Here's a list of other Indian-origin leaders across the world

United States

Kamala Harris became the first Indian-origin and black woman to become the Vice President of the US in the 2020 presidential elections that also elected Joe Biden as President. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris was born in Chennai in Tamil Nadu and married Jamaican-American economist Donald Harris.

Indian-origin politicians have for long established a foothold in US politics - with some notable names like Nikki Haley, Bbby Jindal, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna and more. Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy have launched their presidential bid for 2024.

United Kingdom

British politician Rishi Sunak became the first Indian-origin Prime Minister of the UK in 2022 and the youngest PM in 210 years. Sunak was born in Southampton to Indian-origin parents. He has two Goan-origin ministers in his cabinet, Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, and Home Secretary Suella Braverman.


The Indian-origin Leo Eric Varadkar became the Irish Prime Minister, known as Taoiseach in the country, in 2022 in a power rotation between two partners in a three-party coalition. Varadkar previously served as the Irish Taoiseach from 2017 to 2020. He was born in Dublin to an Irish mother and an Indian immigrant doctor born in Mumbai. He is the country's first openly gay head of government.


The 66-year-old Antonio Costa has served as the Prime Minister of Portugal since 2015, as his Socialists party secured an absolute majority in the 2022 elections. He is half Portuguese and half Goan - Antonio's father Orlando da Costa was the son of a Goan father.


Pravind Jugnauth, who has served as the Prime Minister of Mauritius, has had an influence career in the country's politics. Born into a Hindu family, Jugnauth's great-grandfather migrated to Mauritius from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the 1870s. Additionally, Mauritian President Prithvirajsing Roopun was also born in a Indian Arya Samaj Hindu family.


Mohamed Irfaan Ali became the ninth Indian-origin President of Guyana in August 2020. He was born in a Muslim Indo-Guyanese family and is the country's first Muslim President.


Wavel Ramkalawan, 62, has been serving as the President of Seychelles since October 2020. His great-grandfather emigrated from the state of Bihar in India. He became the country's leader in his seventh attempt.


Chandrikapersad "Chan" Santokhi has served as the Suriname's ninth President since 2020. He was elected President in an uncontested election after his party's win in the 2020 elections. Santokhi was born in 1959 into an Indo-Surinamese Hindu family in Lelydorp.

Trinidad and Tobago

Christine Carla Kangaloo became the President of Trinidad and Tobago in March 2023, after serving as the President of the Senate. She was born into an Indo-Trinidadian family and was the fifth of her parents' seven children.

Other Indian-origin leaders

Apart from heads of governments, there are other Indian-origin names in various countries who have had an influential career in politics. Recently, Anita Anand became the first Hindu federal minister in Canada last month. Both of her parents were Indians - her father from Tamil Nadu and her mother from Punjab. Canadian PM's Cabinet has two other Indian-origin members - Harjit Sajjan and Kamal Khera.

In New Zealand, Priyanca Radhakrishnan became the first Indian-origin minister since 2017, when she was made the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector. She was born in Chennai to Malayali parents in 1979.

In Australia, Devanand "Dave" Sharma became the first person of Indian origin to become a Member of the Parliament in 2019.

In United Kingdom, Priti Patel served as the Home Secretary and Alok Sharma as the International Development Secretary in former PM Boris Johnson's Cabinet.

Over 200 leaders of Indian heritage have ascended to the highest echelons of public service in 15 countries across the globe, with over 60 of them holding Cabinet positions, according to the 2021 Indiaspora Government Leaders List.

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