Monday, August 8, 2022

Doraiswamy India’s envoy to UK, Dalela may visit Dhaka

Vikram Doraiswamy’s appointment as Ambassador to the UK comes after a thorough selection process as the Modi government is also looking at political appointments to London.

Indian Ambassador to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswamy is expected to take over as the Indian envoy to the United Kingdom. A 1992-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Doraiswamy is a Chinese speaker who has served as the Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan, South Korea and in the US as well as private secretary to the Prime Minister.

Vikram Doraiswamy replaces Ambassador Gayatri Issar Kumar, who retired on June 30, 2022. The current Deputy Chief of Mission in the US, 1993-batch IFS officer Sudhakar Dalela, may replace Vikram in Dhaka.

There is speculation that Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma will replace Ruchira Kamboj in Bhutan and Sandeep Arya will replace her in Hanoi. Kamboj has been appointed as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations. Both Verma and Arya are officers of the 1994 batch.

A professional and hardworking diplomat, Doraiswamy has been central to closing bilateral ties with Dhaka, with the official emphasizing on strengthening ties with Bangladesh through infrastructure and defense cooperation. As Indian Ambassador to South Korea, Doraiswamy was one of the key players in bringing KIA Motors to India and joint development of the K-9 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer in India.

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Doraiswamy’s appointment as ambassador to the UK comes after the Modi government went through a months-long intensive selection process, including looking into the possibility of a political appointment as ambassador to London. Indian relations with Britain are close, but there are several friction points related to London’s desire to play the role of the then imperial state in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Britain has often dominated issues related to Jammu and Kashmir in the past due to its domestic Mirpuri Muslim vote bank. The country is also responsible for several issues related to sheltering Sikh fundamentalists as well as allowing them to raise funds against India. However, India and the UK are currently in talks for a free trade agreement with New Delhi, which clearly articulated its concerns for London.

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In Vikram Doraiswamy, there will be an ambassador to India who will emphasize on closer ties, but will also raise friction points, including issues related to the diaspora. His potential replacement, Dalela, has extensive experience focusing on India’s engagement with its South Asian neighbors as Director (Prime Minister’s Office) and was joint secretary handling Bhutan and Nepal when China’s government in 2017 With this the Doklam crisis had broken out.

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