DELHI India -- Heads of
diplomatic missions for five of the 173 foreign missions in
New Delhi from the Indian diaspora are now posted back to
India, writes Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.
Of Indian origin, their fathers or forefathers went abroad
and now they have been posted to represent their countries
Right now, the heads of missions of Australia, Canada,
Fiji, Mauritius and USA are of Indian origin.
Significantly, all these countries have a sizeable Indian
When Ms. Harinder Sidhu presented her credentials
to President Pranab Mukherjee as Australia’s High
Commissioner to India, she joined two other western heads of
mission of Indian origin in New Delhi: Ambassador Richard
R. Verma of the United States (until 20 January 2017)
and High Commissioner Nadir Patel of Canada.
Australia Sets the
A western power being represented in India in any
capacity by a non-Anglo Saxon/ Celtic was unthinkable just
20 odd years ago until Australia broke the mold by
appointing Rakesh Ahuja, India born, as Australia’s Deputy
High Commissioner to New Delhi.
"It served as a precedent for other western governments;
today Indian origin diplomats abound in their missions in
"They would do well to give credit to the Australian
Foreign Service for initiating a multicultural presence in
the western diplomatic corps long before it became the norm
in India (or elsewhere)," said Ahuja.
Ms Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commisoner has
an Indian background had migrated to Australia as a child
with her family from Singapore.
A senior career officer with the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, Ms. Sidhu has also served as First
Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy Division.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics
degrees from the University of Sydney.
She previously served overseas in Moscow and Damascus.
Sidhu, who speaks a little Punjabi and Hindi, said:
"India is one of the most exciting places for a diplomat
to be at the moment.
"India’s economic prospects are bright and it is becoming
a more influential and active international player.’’
Sidhu added, "Both sides of my family are from the Punjab
– my father was born in India."
New Delhi will also help her fulfill her passion for
"The first movie I remember watching as a child was
Brahmachari, it starred Shammi Kapoor and Mumtaz, and I’ve
been hooked ever since,’’ she went on.
H.E. Richard Verma
from USA returns to father’s land:
Until 20 January 2017, Richard Verma is the US Ambassador
to India. Ambassador Richards’ parents — father K D Verma of
Apra village in Jalandhar and mother Gayatri Devi of Chayam
Mohalla - had migrated to Canada around 50 years ago.
"My mother was born in what is today Pakistan …she was a
product of the partition …as her and her family would
resettle in Northern India shortly after 1947.
"It was a violent and unsettled time. My father was the
only literate person in his family.
"He would be imprisoned as a teenager for protesting
"My mother, this young girl from a village in Pakistan,
would go on to get her master’s degree.
"And my dad would get his Ph D, and become the first
person in his family who could read and write."
Talking about how his father came to the United State in
1963 with only 24 dollars and his mother and other four
siblings came to the US later, he recounted the hard times
"The times were hard.
"We had no money.
"The children could be mean in school to this new
"But they persevered."
Verma was raised in Western Pennsylvania and is the
youngest of five children.
Verma began his career in the US Air Force where he
served an officer in the US Air Force Judge Advocate General
Corps and won two military honours for his work which were
the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation
He has a close working relationship with White House
Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, National Security Adviser
Susan Rice, and senior adviser John Podesta.
India born H.E. Nadir
Patel, Now Canadian Envoy:
Nadir Patel, who was born in Gujarat, migrated with
his parents to Canada when he was young.
He speaks Gujarati at home.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wilfrid Laurier
University, 1993; MBA, New York University, London School of
Economics and Political Science and HEC Paris, 2009.
He began his career in 1990 at the Canada Customs and
Revenue Agency, serving in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa and
From 1997 to 2003, he served as departmental assistant to
the minister, director of ministerial services, agency
adviser to the minister and secretary to the Board of
In 2003, he transferred to the Privy Council Office,
serving as chief of staff to the national security advisor
to the prime minister, associate secretary to the Cabinet,
and deputy minister to the deputy prime minister.
From 2005 to 2006, he served as senior policy adviser to
the clerk of the Privy Council and secretary to the Cabinet.
In 2006, he was appointed by the minister of
international trade and the minister of transport as
Canada’s chief air negotiator.
Mr. Patel served as consul general in Shanghai from 2009
Until recently he served as assistant deputy minister for
corporate planning, finance and information technology, and
as chief financial officer at Foreign Affairs, Trade and
Mr. Patel succeeds Stewart Beck.
In the past he has served as Canada’s Consul General in
Shanghai between 2009 and 2011.
He was also part of the team that helped launch the
Commission of Inquiry into the bombing of Air India Flight
In an earlier capacity as Canada’s Chief Air Negotiator,
Mr Patel travelled to 35 countries over three years and
negotiated 43 international airspace treaties
"I am not the only ambassador for Canada in India
relations, each and every one of those 1.2 million
individuals are ambassadors, or a brand, because they speak
about cultural linkages, business linkages,
Government-to-Government linkages, student linkages, he said
answering a question from Indian Empire magazine that
asked about Canadian Indians as Canada is home to over 1.2
million Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who comprise more
than three per cent of the country’s population.
"My appointment here was first and foremost because I am
Canadian and I am a diplomat.
"Being of Indian heritage and speaking the language are
assets, and I think they reflect Canada’s diversity and
multiculturalism," he added.
"It gives an extra edge and extra bonus.
"I converse with Prime Minister Modi in Gujarati and I am
proud of my Indian heritage.
"Besides, I am familiar with India and its people, and
opportunities it offers even before I was appointed as the
"I have travelled to India over 15 times during the past
two decades," he told Economic Times.
The latest Canadian election saw an unprecedented 19
persons of Indian origin being represented, of which four
are in the Cabinet including a Sikh holding a Defence
Since Mauritius became independent in 1968, her High
Commissioner to India has always been on Indian origin.
Some High Commissioners have later become prominent in
"No Non Indian from Mauritius was posted as its High
Commissioner to Delhi," said Madhu Ramlallah, editor of
"Of all the Ex Mauritian High Commissioners who became
top leaders in Mauritius, Robin Ghurburrun was an
influential member of the Mauritius Labour Party.
Sir Rabindrah Ghurburrun (1928–2008) became the Vice
President of Mauritius from 1992 to 1997.
He started his political career as a member of the
Mauritius Labour Party.
However, he was appointed by the Mauritian Militant
Movement-Militant Socialist Movement coalition government as
Vice President while the Labour Party was in the opposition.
A lawyer by profession, he studied at the University of
He was also the first High Commissioner of Mauritius to
Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi described him as
behaving like the last Maharaja of India.
He died at the age of 79 in Paris.
"The current high commissioner, Jagdishwar Goburdhun, had
been involved with the Seva Shivir, under the leadership of
late Swami Krishnanand Saraswati; he later joined politics
with the MSM and became Minister of Health, following which
he was actively championing the cause of small planters,"
Commissioner, H.E. Ms Namita Khatri:
Ms Namita Khatri began her diplomatic career
as second secretary to Fiji’s Mission to the European
Communities and Permanent Representative to the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) in Belgium in 2006 where she was
responsible for providing advice on trade matters in line
with Fiji’s development interests.
HC Khatri was then seconded to serve as the Deputy Head
of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group in Geneva
She has also served as First Secretary in Fiji’s
Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York in 2012
before being appointed as Deputy Permanent Representative in