Who is Taranjit Singh Sandhu, frontrunner for post of ambassador to US?

Sandhu joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1988 and has served across the world

Taranjit Singh Sandhu Taranjit Singh Sandhu | Twitter handle of Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka

Media outlets have reported that Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India's high commissioner to Sri Lanka, is expected to be appointed the next ambassador to the US. The incumbent Indian ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, has been appointed the next foreign secretary and will take charge of his new role on January 29.

Sandhu joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1988 and has served across the world, including the former Soviet Union in 1990. He was tasked with opening the Indian embassy in Ukraine and served there as head of the political and administration wings from 1992 to 1994. He has served as consul general in Frankfurt, Germany, from 2011 to 2013.

Sandhu has served multiple tenures in the US, including as deputy chief of mission at Washington DC from 2013 to 2017, first secretary in Washington DC from 1997 to 2000 and with the UN in New York from 2005 to 2009.

The Hindustan Times reported Sandhu's long experience in Washington DC had made him a popular choice as he had extensive experience working with members of the US Congress. After the US imposed sanctions following the nuclear tests of 1998, Sandhu worked to restore the bilateral relationship. “Sandhu was part of the team that dealt with the outrage and quietly worked to unravel the sanctions—he was handling the toughest elements among the Americans...” The Hindustan Times reported.

Sandhu is a history graduate from St Stephens' College in Delhi and holds a MA in international relations from JNU. Interestingly, Sandhu's wife, Reenat Sandhu, is also an ambassador. She is currently India's ambassador to Italy and San Marino.

In addition to Taranjit Singh Sandhu, other senior diplomatic positions are also expected to be reshuffled. The Times of India reported "Jawed Ashraf, India's high commissioner to Singapore, will be taking over from Vinay Kwatra as ambassador to France". Kwatra will move to become India's ambassador to Nepal.

The Print reported MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar is in the reckoning for the post of high commissioner to Singapore, while T.S. Tirumurti could be posted as the high commissioner to London.