New Indian High Commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar has arrived here to take charge of her post from this week.
Kumar, previously ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, takes over at India House in London from Ruchi Ghanashyam, who retired and left for New Delhi last month.
The career diplomat has previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Paris, Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva as well as stints in Kathmandu and Lisbon.
"Gaitri Issar Kumar, of the 1986 batch of the Indian Foreign Service, has served in various capacities at the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi, and its missions abroad to promote India's political, trade and economic as well as cultural cooperation with friends and partners – bilateral and in multilateral fora," the Indian High Commission in London said in a statement.
Kumar, who has her family origins in Punjab, was born in Bangalore where she completed her early education at Sophia High School before graduating from Bangalore University – where she studied history, economics and political science. Besides fluency in English, Hindi and Punjabi, the envoy has studied German and Portuguese and has a working knowledge of Nepali and French, notes her biography.
Kumar becomes the third woman to take charge as the High Commissioner of India to the UK, a role first occupied by Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit in the 1950s.
The formal start of an ambassadorial posting is marked once the new envoy presents her letters of credence to Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London.
However, in light of the coronavirus lockdown and the 94-year-old monarch's engagements cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future, that ceremonial process is likely to be delayed.