Countries pile in on Kamala Harris celebrations

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The California senator was born in the US to parents of Indian and Jamaican heritage

It is not just American Democrats celebrating the choice of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate, making her the first black woman and South Asian American to become a vice-presidential candidate.

People in India, Jamaica and Canada are also queuing up to heap praise on her.

The California senator was born in the US to parents of Indian and Jamaican heritage.

She also spent a good portion of her early life in Montreal, Canada.

The senator’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, moved to the US from India to pursue a doctoral degree.

In India, Gopalan Balachandran, Ms Harris’s 80-year-old maternal uncle, told The Washington Post said he was “very, very happy” with the news.

His niece is “quick on her feet and a damn good debater”, he said, adding that she would not be fazed by the inevitable nastiness of the election.

She “doesn’t take things lying down”, he said.

Indian politicians have been congratulating Ms Harris.

The fact that someone of Indian origin could be “a proverbial heartbeat away from the presidency is thrilling”, wrote Shashi Tharoor, a politician with the opposition Congress Party.

Ram Madhav, a senior member of the governing BJP, also gave her the thumbs up.

The world of Bollywood has been congratulating Ms Harris, including Priyanka Chopra, who called the moment “transformational”.

The reaction has been similarly positive for many in Jamaica.

“As a woman with Jamaican roots, her elevation shows that as a country, Jamaica has developed many nuggets who have made their mark on the global stage,” Irwine Clare, head of Caribbean Immigrant Services, told the Jamaica Gleaner.

Some have been joking about how Jamaicans will be claiming Ms Harris’s nomination.

Ms Harris caused controversy last year when she admitted to smoking cannabis when she was younger.

“Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” she told The Breakfast Club radio show.

While the statement would have made some warm to Ms Harris, who was then one of the front-runners to be the Democratic nominee, it angered one Jamaican in particular – her father.

Donald J. Harris, the emeritus professor of economics at Stanford University, said that his deceased grandparents and parents “must be turning in their grave” to see the family name and Jamaican identity “being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics”.

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Media captionWho is Kamala Harris? A look at her life and political career

Finally, the senator’s nomination wasn’t overlooked in Canada, where she spent time as a child.

Her old high school in Quebec tweeted their congratulations.

“I’m very proud of Kamala,” former classmate Hugh Kwok told the Montreal Gazette.

“She was a special person, kind and thoughtful, always very interested in helping everyone.”

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