Senior Indian diplomat Santosh Jha has been appointed as the new High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, the country’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept. 13).
Jha, who currently serves as the Indian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, is expected to take up the assignment shortly, the MEA added.
Prior to his assignment in Brussels, Jha was the Ambassador of India in Uzbekistan from July 2019 to July 2020. Earlier, from July 2017 to June 2019, he served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC with a personal rank of Ambassador.
He also served at the Indian Embassy in Brussels earlier from 2010 to 2013, when he was the Deputy Chief of Mission. During this time, Jha also had the distinction of serving as Charge d’ Affaires from January to September 2012.
Between 2013 and 2017, Jha headed several divisions in the MEA including the Division for Human Resources and Management Affairs, the Division for relations with Western Europe and the European Union, Policy Planning Division
In addition to the above, Jha has served in different capacities at Delhi (2004-2007) and at Indian Missions in Moscow (1995-1998), Vladivostok (1998-2000), New York (2000-2004), and Colombo (2007-2010).
Between 2004 and 2007, assigned to the Americas Division of the MEA, Jha served as a member of the negotiating team for the India-US nuclear agreement and was closely associated with the development of India-US relations, in particular, in the fields of space, nuclear, defence and high technology.
Jha has the experience of serving as a member of negotiating teams for Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Sri Lanka and the European Union respectively. He is also credited with helpingerect the architecture for development cooperation between India and Sri Lanka following the end of civil conflict in that country in 2009.
Meanwhile, senior Indian diplomat Gopal Baglay has been appointed as India’s High Commissioner to Australia. A 1992-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Baglay currently serves as India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
“Gopal Baglay, presently High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Australia. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly,” the statement read.
Prior to being assigned to Sri Lanka, Baglay served as the Joint Secretary in the Indian Prime Minister’s Office, according to the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
Before that, he served in various capacities in the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi, including as the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry, Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) Division, Director in External Affairs Minister’s Office and in United Nations Division and Deputy Secretary looking after Eastern & Central Europe.
Abroad, Baglay served as Deputy High Commissioner of India in Pakistan (2011-14), Counsellor for Press, Information and Culture in the Embassy of India, Nepal (2005-08) and in other diplomatic capacities from 1994-2002 in Ukraine, Moscow and London.