LONDON: The senior and career diplomat Ruchi Ghanshyam has assumed her new responsibilities as Indian High Commissioner to the UK on Monday 12th November. She has vast experience of Pakistan affairs and before coming to London was the secretary (west) in the external affairs ministry. She has privileged to be the second woman to hold the key post since independence in 1947.
The only woman high commissioner so far was Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, who was in the post during 1954-1961. She was India’s third envoy after VK Krishna Menon and BG Kher, who steered India-UK relations soon after independence.
Pandit had the longest tenure of seven years, LM Singhvi was in office for six years (1991-97) and Krishna Menon for five (1947-1952). Four envoys had tenures of less than a year, including the current ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna (10 months).
Others with similar brief appearances were Prakash Mehrotra (July-December 1984), Kuldip Nayar (March-November 1990) and Salman Haider (January-July 1998).
Ruchi Ghanshyam, an IFS officer of the 1982 batch, is India’s 27th envoy based at India House in the Strand, central London. She took over from YK Sinha.
Ghanshyam, who was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official delegation during his visit to London in April for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, will be in the post when the UK is due to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.
Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam is a career diplomat, who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1982. Prior to her current assignment as High Commissioner to the UK, she was Secretary (West) in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi from April 2017 to November 2018. In a career spanning nearly thirty-six years after joining Indian Foreign Service, High Commissioner Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam’s various assignments include serving in the Embassy of India Damascus from May 1984 to May 1987 as Third Secretary, where she also learnt Arabic language.
She was Under Secretary in XAV/Cons, MEA from June 1987-January 1991. She served as Secretary B.P. Koirala India Nepal Foundation at Embassy of India, Kathmandu from 1991-1994 and First Secretary (Info & Culture), HoC in Embassy of India Brussels from 1994-1997. She was Counsellor (P.Info) & HoC and Counsellor (Political) in High Commission of India in Islamabad from 1998-2000. She has served in the Ministry of External Affairs from August 2000 to March 2004 as Director (Pakistan) and Director CNV Division, MEA.
Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam was Minister in New York, Permanent Mission of India to the UN from May 2004 to March 2008. Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam was High Commissioner of India to Ghana concurrently accredited to Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Togo from March 2008 to October 2011. She was Joint Secretary/ Additional Secretary of the Europe West Division, MEA from November 2011 to October 2014. She has also served as High Commissioner of India to South Africa concurrently accredited to Lesotho, from October 2014 to April 2017.
Born in 1960, High Commissioner Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam holds a Master of Psychology from the Bhopal University. She speaks Hindi and English. Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam is married to Mr. A. R. Ghanashyam (a retired IFS officer). They have two sons.