Meet Harsh Vardhan Shringla, New Foreign Secy Who Took On Pak PM

Shringla, a 1984 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), is considered an expert on India’s neighbourhood

Updated
India
2 min read

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

Video Producer: Rupsha Bhadra

Seasoned diplomat Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who last served as India's envoy to the US, took charge as new foreign secretary on Wednesday, 29 January, for a fixed two-year term, succeeding Vijay Gokhale.

"I am as committed to the ministry's role in nation-building as I was almost 36 years ago when I entered these portals as a young professional. I look forward to functioning under the guidance of the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister, our political leadership and with the support and cooperation of my colleagues both within the ministry and outside," the 57-year-old diplomat said after taking over as the foreign secretary.

With 35 years experience as a diplomat, Shringla was appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) order had announced in December last year.

35 Years of Service

Shringla, a 1984 batch Foreign Services officer (IFS), served as the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand from 2014 to 2016, and then as the High Commissioner to Dhaka for two years.

As the Ambassador to the United States, Shringla rose to prominence when he rebutted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s opinion piece in The New York Times.

One of his biggest assignments, as the Ambassador to the United States, was the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in September 2019, where US President Donald Trump and PM Modi addressed the Indian diaspora in Houston, Texas. About 50,000 people, mostly Indians, attended the event.

Shringla has also served at the UNESCO in France, United Nations in New York besides Vietnam, Israel and South Africa.

He has also served in the Ministry of External Affairs as Joint Secretary for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Maldives. He also headed the UN political and SAARC divisions in the ministry.

Shringla was director of the northern division, handling Nepal and Bhutan and deputy secretary of the western division, dealing with Europe.

He has also been the MEA Joint Secretary (Director General) responsible for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Maldives.

In December 2019, he had written an Op-Ed in The New York Times, titled ‘India Is Building a More Prosperous Kashmir,’ giving the context and objectives of India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Education, Published Papers

Ambassador Shringla graduated from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and worked in corporate and public sectors before joining the Indian Foreign Services.

He has also published papers on conflict prevention, economic diplomacy, the Indian diaspora and India's relations with Bangladesh.

Shringla, according to his Wikipedia page, is fluent in speaking French, Vietnamese and Nepalese apart from English and Indian languages.

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