Indian diplomacy is preparing for new faces in key capitals this month, as several senior Ambassadors retired, with India’s Ambassador to Bhutan Ruchira Khamboj taking over as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami likely to be the next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. The two decisions are among the first few major postings with the new Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra’s stamp on them, given that they indicate a higher profile for the neighbourhood as well. The envoys will take over from T.S. Tirumurti in New York, and Gaitri Issar Kumar in London, both of whom retired at the end of June.
Two other important postings are expected with India’s Ambassador to Japan Sanjay Kumar Verma set to take over as the next High Commissioner to Canada, as India’s outgoing High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria has retired. Two senior officers, including one who has been dealing with Quad negotiations, and an Ambassador in West Asia, are being considered for the Ambassador to Tokyo.
Mr. Bisaria, who had managed India-Canada ties through a turbulent time, especially after a diplomatic freeze over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the farmers’ protests, leaves Ottawa after a rapprochement was signalled last month at the Modi-Trudeau meeting on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Germany, where India was a special invitee.
Among the youngest
If confirmed, Mr. Doraiswami, a 1992 batch officer in his early 50s who has been in Dhaka since 2020, would be among the youngest High Commissioners to the United Kingdom, matching his counterpart U.K. High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis, who is also much younger than his predecessors, who will both be key in completing a Free Trade Agreement this year. Mr. Doraiswami was earlier posted as Ambassador to Seoul and Tashkent.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has announced that Virendra Kumar Paul, India’s High Commissioner to Kenya, as the next Ambassador to Turkiye (formerly Turkey), and Vishvas Vidu Sapkal, the Joint Secretary (South) as the next Ambassador to Peru.
While the next envoys to Thimphu and Dhaka are yet to be finalised, India’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, Sudhakar Dalela, an experienced hand in the neighbourhood as he formerly handled Bhutan and Nepal as the Joint Secretary (North) is tipped to return to the region, as are India’s Ambassadors to Vietnam, Pranay Verma and Ambassador to Iran, Gaddam Dharmendra, who earlier handled the policy planning desk. In Kathmandu, Mr. Kwatra’s successor as Ambassador, former China-hand Naveen Srivastava has presented his credentials and called on Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka last week.