Senior career diplomat Ruchi Ghanshyam assumed her new role as Indian High Commissioner to the UK on November 12, only the second woman to hold this key post since independence in 1947. She follows in the footsteps of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, who held the position from 1954 to 1961.
Mrs Ghanshyam’s long and distinguished career with the Indian Foreign Service began in 1982. Her various assignments have included serving as Third Secretary at the Indian Embassy in Damascus from May 1984 to 1987;as a minister at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations (May 2004-March 2008); and as High Commissioner of India to Ghana, concurrently accredited to Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Togo (March 2008-October 2011).Before coming to London she was Secretary (West) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi from April 2017 to November 2018, andformed part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official delegation during his April visit to London this year for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The High Commissioner has extensive experience of Pakistan affairs, having served from 1998 to 2000 as Counsellor (Political, Press &Information) and HoC and Counsellor (Political) at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad – the first Indian female diplomat to be posted there. She was also Director (Pakistan) and Director CNV Division at the Ministry of External Affairs from August 2000 to March 2004.
Mrs Ghanshyamis India’s 27th envoy, based at India House in London’s Strand. In addition to dealing with domestic political issues that resonate in Britain – such as Khalistan, Jammu and Kashmir and caste – a potential India-UK free trade agreement will be on her agenda, though formal talks on that issuecan only begin after Brexit.