High Commissioner H.E Gopal Baglay relinquished charge

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –  High Commissioner H.E Gopal Baglay relinquished charge as Government of India’s Head of Mission to Sri Lanka on 15 December 2023 and has been named as the next High Commissioner of India to Australia.

High Commissioner H.E Gopal Baglay assumed charge in Sri Lanka in May 2020 and his term as India’s top diplomat in the country witnessed several unmatched milestones in the bilateral partnership. He was instrumental in realizing several crowning achievements in India-Sri Lanka ties.

Among the key highlights of his term was the multi-pronged assistance worth USD 4 billion, in response to the economic challenges in Sri Lanka in 2022. Signing of Modalities Agreement for the possession, development and use of Trincomalee Tank Farms and Joint Venture between CPC & LIOC in January 2022 also deserve a special mention. Under his watch, India supplied more than 25 tons of medicines, Made in India Covid vaccine, Rapid Antigen Test kits, Liquid Medical Oxygen, to Sri Lanka to tide over COVID-19 pandemic. Further, Indian Naval and Air Force assets were deployed specially for expediting humanitarian supplies to Sri Lanka during this period.

The economic and commercial engagement between the two countries got a major boost during his tenure. There have been multiple bilateral MoUs including for cooperation in renewable energy, for intergrid connection, for development of Trincomalee, for UPI-application acceptance & digital payments, utilization of INR- denominated trade settlements. India has also emerged to be the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka. While development partnership featured landmark projects such as the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project, generational linkages in Buddhism were reinforced through numerous noble initiatives such as the USD 15 million grant assistance for the promotion Buddhist ties, inaugural international flight from Sri Lanka to the sacred city of Kushinagar in October 2021, carrying almost 100 monks. Various dimensions of connectivity also deepened such as the resumption of Chennai-Jaffna flights and recommencement of ferry services.

Mr. Santosh Jha shall be assuming charge as the next High Commissioner of India. Mr. Jha is currently serving as India’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Mr. Jha has served in diverse capacities in several countries and New Delhi including as Counsellor in High Commission of India, Colombo during 2007-2010.

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