According to news reports out of India, the country’s next envoy to the U.S. is going to be career Foreign Service Officer and current High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. If appointed, he would be replacing Ambassador Harsh V. Shringla, who recently left for India to take over as Foreign Secretary.
An old Washington hand, Sandhu worked in several capacities in the U.S. in the 1990s and 2000s. His appointment is a savvy move in light of some murmurings on Capitol Hill against India on thorny issues relating to India’s revocation of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status and lockdown measures taken in the new state of Kashmir; as well as the new Citizenship Amendment Act that has led to wide scale protests in that country.
Prior to his current assignment in Colombo, High Commissioner Sandhu was Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy of India in Washington D.C. from July 2013 to January 2017, according to his bio available on the website of India’s Sri Lanka High Commission. He was also in Washington just after India’s nuclear test of 1998, which put New Delhi in the crosshairs of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and is said to have worked behind the scenes to win over critics on Capitol Hill.
He served as Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013.
From 2009 to August 2011, he served in the Ministry of External Affairs as Joint Secretary (United Nations) and later as Joint Secretary (Administration) heading the Human Resource Division.
From July 2005 to February 2009, Sandhu was stationed at the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York.
He was First Secretary (Political) at Embassy of India, Washington, D.C. responsible for liaison with the United States Congress from 1997-2000.
High Commissioner Sandhu earlier served as the Head of the Political Wing in the High Commission of India, Colombo from December 2000 to September 2004.
In his thirty years in the Indian Foreign Service Sandhu’s various assignments have included working in the former Soviet Union (Russia) from 1990 to 1992 as Third Secretary (Political) / Second Secretary (Commercial).
Following the breakup of Soviet Union, he was deputed to open a new Embassy in Ukraine. He served as Head of Political and Administration Wings at the Indian Embassy in Kiev from 1992 to 1994.
On his return to India, he served as Officer on Special Duty (Press Relations), Ministry of External Affairs from 1994 to March 1997. He was responsible for liaison with foreign media in India.
Born on Jan. 23, 1963, Sandhu studied at The Lawrence School, Sanawar and graduated with History Honors from St. Stephens’ College, Delhi. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
He is married to Reenat Sandhu, who is Ambassador of India to Italy. They have two children.