New Foreign Secretary bats for diplomacy responsive to a new India


Veteran diplomat Harsh Vardhan Shringla took charge as India’s Foreign Secretary on January 29, 2020, and struck an optimistic note for “a dynamic and responsive diplomacy, one that is alive to the requirements of a new India.”

In a media statement after assuming charge as Foreign Secretary, Mr Shringla, who served as India’s ambassador to the US before becoming the country’s top diplomat, underscored people-centric character of his vocation as a diplomat and highlighted major priorities of India’s foreign policy under his watch.

“We are service providers to our citizens and our people, whether at home or abroad. Enhancing the security and prosperity of India through external ties and the well-being of all Indians, wherever they may be, is our mission statement,” said Mr Shringla, an alumnus of St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi.

Mr Shringla succeeded Vijay Keshav Gokahle as the country’s  foreign secretary.

(Media statement by Harsh Vardhan Shringla on assuming charge as India’s Foreign Secretary on January 29, 2020)

It is both an honour as well as a humbling experience for me to take charge as Foreign Secretary of India. I am conscious I am stepping into the shoes of many distinguished seniors and stalwarts who have occupied this office in the past. I am proud to serve in the MEA, alongside my colleagues who are amongst the finest, dedicated professionals serving the nation. I remain as passionate about the Ministry and its role in our nation building as I did as a young probationer.

The primary objective of the MEA and the IFS is to advance our national interests across the world and serve the people of India, wherever they may be. We are service providers to our citizens and our people, whether at home or abroad. Enhancing the security and prosperity of India through external ties and the well-being of all Indians, wherever they may be, is our mission statement.

As Foreign Secretary, I look forward to working with India’s many partners in the international system – in enhancing developmental and economic linkages, as well as connectivities, with our neighbours; building synergies with major powers; seeking a shared, undifferentiated and unambiguous approach to terrorism and the threat it poses to free societies; and sustaining the gains of a rules-based multilateral order.

Sharing the Indian developmental experience with countries of the global south, especially with our friends in Africa and Latin America, will continue to be a priority. I look forward to the opening of new missions and the inauguration of new initiatives.

I entered the Foreign Service during the Cold War and I am entering the Foreign Secretary’s office at a time when global warming has become a pressing concern. Several other recent opportunities and challenges related to the cyber domain and emerging technologies will also receive our attention. The MEA fully appreciates the critical nature of these issues for our country and planet.

Under the overall guidance of the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister, I will strive to provide the basis for a dynamic and responsive diplomacy, one that is alive to the requirements of a new India.