New UK high commissioner Philip Barton presents credentials to president
Philip Barton’s arrival in India and the presentation of his credentials was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He succeeded Dominic Asquith, who served as high commissioner from April 2016 to January this year.Updated: Jul 08, 2020 14:45 IST
Philip Barton, the UK’s new high commissioner to India, presented his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday.
Barton’s arrival in India and the presentation of his credentials was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He succeeded Dominic Asquith, who served as high commissioner from April 2016 to January this year.
“The UK-India relationship is remarkable and we share an unparalleled breadth and depth of connection. There is a deep commitment across the British government, industry and civil society to grow that relationship even further,” Barton said in a statement.
He identified several focus areas – developing the trade and economic partnership following the UK’s exit from the European Union, tackling the global challenges of climate change and green recovery, acting together as a force for good in the world, and working closely to keep both countries safe and secure.
Barton, who also served as the UK’s high commissioner to Pakistan during 2014-16 and as acting chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee during 2016-17, acknowledged he had arrived in India at an “extraordinarily difficult time”.
“Coronavirus is without precedent in modern times, but it has also brought out the importance of the modern partnership between the UK and India: from our excellent collaboration in developing and manufacturing a vaccine for global distribution, to securing essential medical supplies for health workers, to our joint determination to ‘build back better’ from this crisis,” he said.
Barton also pointed to his family’s roots in India. “We often speak of the ‘living bridge’ of people, ideas and institutions that tie the UK and India together. I, too, am part of that bridge. My mother was born in Shimla and I was posted here in Delhi in the 1990s. I met my wife, Amanda, when we both lived and worked here and we named our daughter ‘India’ – not knowing I would return one day as high commissioner,” he said.
Barton joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1986 and has previously served as the Director General (consular and security) in London and as deputy ambassador in Washington. Before arriving in New Delhi last month, he helped the UK government adapt its long-term planning to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jan Thompson, who served as acting high commissioner from February to June, has returned to her role as deputy high commissioner.