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January 29, 2020

India shuffles its diplomats after criticism of West

Top Story

January 29, 2020

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Photo: file

NEW DELHI: After drawing flak from the Western countries and media over annexing Occupied Kashmir, suspension of mobile internet and detention of IOK politicians, a major reshuffle of envoys has been done by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, foreign media reported.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu is being sent to Washington DC, Jawed Ashraf to France and Raveesh Kumar to Austria.

Sandhu is currently Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashraf is High Commissioner of Singapore and Kumar is spokesperson of the Ministry in New Delhi.

Sandhu will succeed Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who will take charge as the country’s new foreign secretary today (Wednesday).

The transfers, which were due, came at a time when India has been in international news for a slew of major decisions the Modi government took since its re-election for a second term.

Lately, the BJP government has been facing stiff opposition and widespread protests over its Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that grants citizenship to the persecuted religious minorities of three Islamic nations in the neighbourhood--Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to people familiar with the developments, positions that the new foreign secretary Shringla will have to appoint new people to in the coming months include London, India’s Permanent Mission to UN, Singapore, Turkey, Austria, Prague and the Consul General of India in New York.

Sandhu’s position in Colombo is expected to be filled by Gopal Baglay, presently additional secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. In other appointments, India’s high commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf will move to France as ambassador while ambassador to Paris Vinay Kwatra shift to Nepal in the same rank. Ajay Bisaria, India’s former high commissioner to Pakistan, is expected to take up a similar assignment in Canada.

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