Ms Harinder Sidhu is appointed as the next High Commissioner to India. Sidhu takes over from Patrick Suckling who has been posted in India since 2013. Sidhu also have a non-resident accreditation to Bhutan. She was serving as the First Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy Division. She is an official who held senior positions in the Office of the National Assessments and Department of the Prime Minister and cabinet.
Making the announcement, Australian foreign affairs Minister, Julie Bishop said, “India is one of Australia’s closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific region. It is our 10th largest trading partner and our two-way investment is worth over $20 billion,”
Sidhu said she is looking forward for her new role in India. “At a personal level, I have always been fascinated by the country of my heritage and am keen to learn more about India – its language, culture and history – while I am there.”
Sidhu was born in Singapore and migrated to Australia with her parents at a very young age. Both her parents are from Punjab and her father was born in India. She also speaks a little Punjabi and Hindi and hopes to become fluent while she is in India. She is a graduate of Law and Economics from University of Sydney.
Harinder Sidhu’s appointment has an added significance with Australia pushing for closer trade relationship with India. A rejuvenated India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership wants to extend the closer ties to other areas like Military and technological co-operation. Both the countries conducted bilateral maritime exercises together in 2015. The West wants to keep India as a buffer to China’s growing military power.
Nearly half a million Indian origin migrants live in Australia. Australia keeps high hopes on Indian tourists to jump start the ailing tourism industry here, while Indian students helps keep Australia’s education institutions afloat.