Colombo, December 16 (newsin.asia): The Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, has warmly welcomed the new Sri Lankan envoy Ravinatha Aryasinha.
In a tweet after the meeting, Sandhu said that he was welcoming a friend from his “second home” (Sri Lanka) -the newly appointed Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the US and former Foreign Secretary, Ravinatha Aryasinha. While the relationship with every country is dear, relationships with some of them like Sri Lanka, “touch the heart!” he stressed.
On December 4 Aryasinha had his copy of credentials accepted by the US State Department. In line with the COVID protocols, the formal ceremony was dispensed with. He is functioning as the Appointed Ambassador and Head of Mission, pending the formal presentation of credentials to the President of the United States.
Presently the senior-most officer of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service (SLFS), until recently Aryasinha was the Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka serving close to 2 years, under 3 political administrations. Previously, he served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union (2008- 2012) and as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and Consul General of Sri Lanka to Switzerland (2012-2018), while being concurrently accredited as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Holy See. He has also served in the USA from 2002-2006, the latter period as Deputy Chief of Mission with Ambassador Rank, and from 1989-1991 as Second Secretary at the Sri Lanka High Commission in India.
A pioneer in the setting up of Rupavahini – Sri Lanka TV in 1982, he was a Political Correspondent until he joined the SLFS in 1988. Between 1995-2000 and 2007-2008 he served as the Foreign Ministry Spokesman, and from April – October 2018 as Additional Secretary/ Economic Affairs and Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Aryasinha received his secondary education at Ananda College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Peradeniya and a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the University of Colombo. He was a ‘Hurst Fellow in International Relations’ at the School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington DC in 2001-2002.
Earlier as a college student, he was awarded an ‘American Field Service (AFS) Scholarship’ and spent the academic year 1978-79 in the USA. In 1985, he received the ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Sri Lanka’ Award by the Jaycees Junior Chamber International recognized his contribution to the field of Media.
Taranjit Singh Sandhu
Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who took charge as India’s Ambassador this year, is one of the most experienced Indian diplomats on US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington DC twice earlier. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India in Washington DC from July 2013 to January 2017. Earlier, he was First Secretary (Political) at the Embassy of India, Washington, DC responsible for liaison with the United States Congress from 1997 to 2000. He has also been at the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York from July 2005 to February 2009.
Prior to his current assignment in Washington DC, Ambassador Sandhu was High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka from January 2017 to January 2020. He had also served at the High Commission of India, Colombo earlier as the Head of the Political Wing from December 2000 to September 2004.
Ambassador Sandhu was Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013. He has worked in the Ministry of External Affairs in various capacities: as Joint Secretary (United Nations) from March 2009 to August 2011; and later as Joint Secretary (Administration) heading the Human Resource Division. He was Officer on Special Duty (Press Relations), Ministry of External Affairs from December 1995 to March 1997, and was responsible for liaison with foreign media in India.
In a distinguished career spanning over thirty years in the Indian Foreign Service since 1988, Ambassador Sandhu started his diplomatic career from former Soviet Union (Russia) where he worked as Third Secretary (Political) / Second Secretary (Commercial) in the Indian Mission from 1990 to 1992. Following the breakup of Soviet Union, he was sent to open a new Embassy in Ukraine. He served as Head of Political and Administration Wings in Indian Embassy in Kiev from 1992 to 1994.
Born on 23 January 1963 in a family of educationists, Ambassador Sandhu studied at The Lawrence School, Sanawar and graduated with History Honors from St. Stephens’ College, Delhi. He pursued a Master’s Degree in International Relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Ambassador Sandhu is married to Mrs. Reenat Sandhu, who is Ambassador of India to Italy. They have two children. His interests include books, movies and outdoor sports.
Ambassador Sandhu assumed charge as Ambassador to the United States on February 3, 2020.