Indian ambassador to US Harsh Vardhan Shringla is next foreign secretary
India’s ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, was named by the government on Monday as the next foreign secretary and he will take over from incumbent Vijay Gokhale in January. Shringla, who took over as the envoy in Washington in January, is a career diplomat who was seen as a frontrunner for the top post for several months.
An official statement said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet had approved the appointment of Shringla, an officer of the 1984 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), as foreign secretary with effect from January 29, 2020 on Gokhale’s completion of a two-year term.
“I receive this news with humility and a sense of the responsibility that has been entrusted to me. I look forward to working with the MEA team and the leadership in achieving the government’s objectives in India’s foreign policy,” Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, reacting to news of his appointment.
Shringla will supersede at least three IFS officers – Ruchi Ghanshyam, the high commissioner to the UK, Amita Nair, the ambassador to Chile, and Rajiv Kumar Chander, the permanent representative in Geneva. Ghanshyam is from the 1982 batch of the IFS while the two others are from the 1983 batch.
Shringla’s elevation is expected to set the ball rolling for the appointment of envoys to key countries and multilateral bodies, where the incumbents are either set to retire or complete their terms. These countries and multilateral bodies include the UK, the US, Canada and the UN.
During a diplomatic career spanning 35 years, Shringla has served as the high commissioner to Bangladesh and ambassador in Thailand. He has also headed the UN political and Saarc divisions in the external affairs ministry. A graduate of St Stephen’s College in Delhi, Shringla speaks French, Vietnamese and Nepalese and has published papers on conflict prevention, economic diplomacy, and India-Bangladesh relations.