Time for new assignments
Newly-appointed high commissioners of two top countries -- United Kingdom and India -- will take up their diplomatic assignments in Bangladesh shortly.
British High Commissioner-designate to Bangladesh Alison Blake arrived here yesterday, while Indian High Commissioner-designate Harsh Vardhan Shringla will arrive in Dhaka this afternoon.
Alison succeeds Robert W Gibson, who retired after serving long 15 years in various capacities in Bangladesh.
Both Shringla and Alison are expected to present their credentials separately to the president of Bangladesh soon, diplomatic sources said.
Shringla succeeds Pankaj Saran, who served in Bangladesh for four years and has been appointed India's Ambassador to Russia.
Shringla, who served as Indian Ambassador to Thailand for less than a year, had been appointed as the next Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh on November 18 last year.
He is coming from Bangkok by a Thai Airways flight today, diplomatic sources said.
A member of the Indian Foreign Service of 1984 batch, Shringla was at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi between 2011 and 2013 and is considered a key official who made significant contribution to the strengthening of India-Bangladesh bilateral ties, particularly with regard to trade and the implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).
He is credited with finalising contours of the LBA and its protocol with Bangladesh as Joint Secretary (JS) in headquarters. As the JS of Bangladesh-Sri Lanka-Myanmar-Maldives division in the MEA, he also sorted out hitches in power transfer, duty-free regime in textiles, overseeing maritime arbitration and general elections in 2014 in Bangladesh.
In the course of his diplomatic career spanning 30 years, Shringla has held a variety of positions in New Delhi and in Indian missions in Paris, Hanoi and Tel Aviv. He has also served as councillor in the permanent mission of India to the United Nations in New York and as Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Durban, South Africa.
British envoy Alison Blake joined the British Civil Service in 1989 and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1996. She served a number of diplomatic postings at home and overseas. Her last posting was in Islamabad as the deputy British high commissioner.
On her appointment as the British representative to Bangladesh, Alison said: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to be taking up my new position as British high commissioner in Dhaka. The United Kingdom has strong cultural, political and commercial ties with Bangladesh and works closely with the government and people of Bangladesh on our many shared interests, including trade, investment, development and security.
“I am committed to strengthening the long and friendly bilateral relationship and look forward to further developing our extensive cooperation between the two countries.”