taranjit singh sandhu

Taranjit Singh Sandhu (center) will serve as India’s new ambassador to the U.S. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — In a major reshuffle of envoys, the Ministry of External Affairs is sending Taranjit Singh Sandhu to Washington DC, Jawed Ashraf to France and Raveesh Kumar to Austria.

India-West adds: The Ministry had not officially made the announcement as of press time Jan. 15, but several Indian media have reported that Sandhu will take up the DC posting. He currently serves as High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. 

Official sources said Sandhu will take over as the US Ambassador from Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who just returned to New Delhi. Shringla will take over as Foreign Secretary from Vijay Gokhale, who is retiring later this month.

Sandhu has previously served as deputy chief at the Indian embassy in Washington DC. The government is sending Gopal Baglay, currently in PMO in New Delhi, to Colombo, as a replacement of Sandhu.

Ashraf is High Commissioner of Singapore and Kumar is spokesperson of the Ministry in New Delhi.

The transfers, which were due, came at a time when India has been in international news for a slew of major decisions the Modi government took since its reelection for a second term.

Sources said Ashraf will replace ambassador Vinay Kwatra, who is being transferred to Nepal. Kwatra is taking over from Manjeev Singh Puri who has just retired.

A career diplomat, Ashraf has been instrumental in India's strong partnership with Singapore for key development projects at home like smart cities and skill development. He has earlier served in US, Germany and Nepal.

Kumar, who has been the youngest and one of the most effective and popular spokespersons of the Ministry, will take over from Renu Pall, who recently returned to New Delhi. Pall was transferred after an impending investigation against her over allegations of financial irregularities and mismanagement at the mission in Vienna.

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