India’s ambassador presents his credentials to President Trump at White House
Washington, Feb 07: Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India's ambassador-designate to the United States, has presented his credentials to President Donald Trump who welcomed him at the White House and wished him success in his new appointment, the Indian embassy here has said.
A 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service Official, Sandhu has had two successful stints at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC - the last one being Deputy Ambassador from July 2013 to January 2017.
He succeeds Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who has been promoted as the Foreign Secretary. Sandhu, till last week, was India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
President Trump, during the Oval Office credentials ceremony, warmly welcomed Sandhu, back to Washington DC and wished him success in his responsibilities as India's ambassador to the US, the Indian embassy said in a statement on Thursday.
"The President fondly recalled his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and their several interactions," it said.
Sandhu conveyed warm greetings from President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Trump and the First Lady, the statement said. He also said that the vision and guidance provided by Prime Minister Modi and President Trump in the last three years had moved India and the United States towards greater strategic convergence.
Sandhu affirmed his commitment to work towards strengthening strategic partnership between India and the US, which is anchored in mutual trust and friendship, democratic values and people-to-people ties, the statement said.
"Extending my warmest welcome to @SandhuTaranjitS, India's new Ambassador to the US. A strong champion of US-India ties, Amb. Sandhu's proven record & deep experience augurs well for the future of our partnership. Welcome back to Washington! AGW," Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells tweeted.
"Thank you Alice Wells. Looking forward to working together to further enhance India - US engagement!," Sandhu replied.
One of the most experienced Indian diplomats on US affairs, Sandhu was First Secretary (Political) at the Embassy of India, Washington DC responsible for liaison with the United States Congress from 1997 to 2000.
He has also been at the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York from July 2005 to February 2009. Sandhu arrived in Washington on Monday as India's ambassador-designate to the United States.
"Ambassador of India to the United States arrived this morning and assumed charge," the Indian embassy said in a tweet soon after his arrival.
Born in 1963 in a family of educationists, Sandhu studied at The Lawrence School, Sanawar, and graduated from St Stephens' College, Delhi, with History Honors. He pursued a Master's degree in International Relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Sandhu is married to Reenat Sandhu, who is Ambassador of India to Italy.
In a distinguished career spanning over 30 years in the Indian Foreign Service since 1988, Sandhu started his diplomatic career from former Soviet Union (Russia) where he worked as Third Secretary (Political) /Second Secretary (Commercial) in the Indian Mission from 1990 to 1992. Following the breakup of Soviet Union, he was sent to open a new embassy in Ukraine.
He served as Head of Political and Administration Wings in the Indian embassy in Kiev from 1992 to 1994.
Sandhu was Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013. He has worked in the Ministry of External Affairs in various capacities: as Joint Secretary (United Nations) from March 2009 to August 2011; and later as Joint Secretary (Administration) heading the Human Resource Division.
He was Officer on Special Duty (Press Relations), Ministry of External Affairs from December 1995 to March 1997, and was responsible for liaison with foreign media in India.