Indian media sites spotted an Indian national flag waving in the crowd of Wednesday’s rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, the WION network reported on Thursday.
“Amid the massive protests, which saw people carrying flags of the United States and of ‘Trump 2020’ and ‘Trump 2024’, one person also waived Indian tricolor,” WION noted.
Video footage of the Indian flag being waved at the rally by an off-camera participant went viral on Twitter. Many social media users in India seemed puzzled at the flag’s presence at the demonstration.
An Indian lawmaker named Varun Gandhi, who belongs to India’s ruling, Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), posted a video clip of the flag waving in the crowd on Twitter with the caption, “Why is there an Indian flag there??? This is one fight we definitely don’t need to participate in”:
Why is there an Indian flag there??? This is one fight we definitely don’t need to participate in… pic.twitter.com/1dP2KtgHvf
— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) January 7, 2021
A small but considerable minority of Hindu-Americans vocally supported President Trump in his bid for reelection last year, making the Indian flag’s presence at the rally less surprising within certain conservative subsets of the U.S.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the president of the BJP and a close ally of U.S. President Donald Trump. His “Self-Reliant India” initiative and “India First” campaign have been likened to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and “America First” policies.
As Indian news site Scroll.in reported in October, “A number of vocal Indian-Americans who, citing Trump’s close ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his attitude towards illegal immigrants and what they perceive as an anti-India platform from the Democrats, have put their weight behind the controversial Republican leader.”
At the time, the news site predicted that “[t]he very visible and vocal support has even created the impression that the Indian-American community – which has historically tilted heavily in favor of the Democratic party – might witness a small shift towards Trump.”
“A number of Indians [in the U.S.] who were earlier hardcore Democrat supporters, even registered Democrats, are now supporting Republicans either vocally or tacitly,” Deven Mehta, a founding member of the U.S. Republican Hindu Coalition told Scroll.in on October 16.
By that time, the Republican Hindu Coalition and other similar groups had reached the final stage of an outreach campaign to rally Indian-Americans to reelect Trump.
“Almost every Indian-American has already been reached by the Trump campaign, and will be reached again multiple times,” Khushboo Rawlley, an advisory board member of Indian Voices for Trump, told the publication.
Indian Voices for Trump is a coalition of groups founded by the Trump Victory Campaign 2020. The group reached out to Hindu-Americans using various methods including the creation of “Make America Great Again meetups online in Indian languages such as Tamil, Telugu, and Gujarati,” according to Scroll.in.