Shiv Shankar Mukherjee takes charge as envoy to Britain

May 9th, 2008 - 7:13 pm ICT by admin  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, May 9 (IANS) Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, a senior career diplomat, Friday took charge as India’s new High Commissioner to Britain, a country that enjoys particularly close economic and political relations with India. Mukherjee arrived Thursday after a successful, if gruelling, stint as New Delhi’s man in Kathmandu - a posting that guided India’s relations with Nepal through some of its most turbulent years marked by an unprecedented armed Maoist insurrection.

The job involved maintaining a delicate balance between the Himalayan kingdom’s monarchy, established political parties and newly-emerged Communist political groupings.

On considerably calmer shores, the diplomat Friday visited the Foreign Office and will present his credentials to the Queen at her convenience in the near future.

Mukherjee succeeds Kamalesh Sharma, who took over as Commonwealth Secretary General in April, and takes office at a time when relations between New Delhi and London are at their warmest.

Trade between the two countries was around 10 billion pounds in 2007, and is expected to grow, with a number of high profile acquisitions of British companies by Indian multinationals.

Politically, Britain is among the strongest backers of India’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

And the two countries are close strategic allies whose prime ministers meet every year - alternately in New Delhi and London - to discuss cooperation in a wide sweep of areas, including anti-terrorism and other global issues.

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