The Indian government has named Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who have deeper understating on the neighbourhood, as the new foreign secretary. A multi-linguist and alumni of Delhi’s prestigious St Stephen’s College, Shringla is currently serving as the Indian ambassador in US. He is one of the senior-most diplomats of India and will take over from the present foreign secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale next month.
He held different positons related to the neighbourhood in the long career at the foreign service since 1984 including the top diplomat in Bangladesh. His appointment comes at a time when New Delhi is facing various challenges ranging from CAA-NRC, tensions with Pakistan and China’s growing presence in the neighbouring countries.
Shringla served as India’s top diplomat in Thailand from 2014 to 2016 before coming to Dhaka as the High Commissioner. From Dhaka, he moved to Washington in early 2019. He was also joint secretary in charge of the Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Maldives division. All of those positons he held indicates his deeper understanding of the neighbourhood, which is of primary concern to the Indian government at this moment.
Besides heading the UN political and SAARC divisions, he was also, the director of the northern division, handling Nepal and Bhutan and deputy secretary of the western division, dealing with Europe. This year’s `Howdy Modi’ event in the US was organised by him where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump addressed a rally together.
According to Indian media, his tenure as the Indian envoy to the US has also witnessed the defence relations between the two countries touching new heights. He also managed to rebut Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s opinion piece in The New York Times, very strongly.
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