New Australian High Commissioner to India and Bhutan
The Australian High Commission in New Delhi will next week welcome Ms Harinder Sidhu to India as the Australian High Commissioner-designate.
Ms Sidhu said she was looking forward to her new role in a dynamic country.
“India is one of the most exciting places for a diplomat to be at the moment. India’s economic prospects are bright and it is becoming a more influential and active international player,” she said.
“The Australia-India relationship has grown substantially over the past few years and I will dedicate myself to building that relationship further.
“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.”
Ms Sidhu, who replaces former High Commissioner Patrick Suckling, continues a tradition of Australian representatives with strong connections to India.
“Both sides of my family are from the Punjab – my father was born in India,” she said.
Ms Sidhu was born in Singapore and settled in Australia with her family as a child.
She speaks a little Punjabi and Hindi but is looking forward to the opportunity to become more fluent.
The High Commissioner-designate is also eager to indulge her passion for Bollywood movies.
“The first movie I remember watching as a child was Brahmachari, it starred Shammi Kapoor and Mumtaz, and I’ve been hooked ever since, ” she said.
One of Ms Sidhu’s first tasks in the job is likely to be hosting the Australian men’s and women’s cricket teams in India for the T20 next month.
“I’m looking forward to seeing both the Australians and Indians in action. I hope to get to Mohali for the match and, with luck, see them both in the final, too. May the best team win.”
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Ms Sidhu’s appointment last Friday and will also be the ambassador to Bhutan.