The new High Commissioner of India, Mrs K. Nandini Singla called on Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth today, Thursday 07 January 2021. They held a broad ranging and forward-looking discussion on various issues of bilateral cooperation and spoke about strengthening and upgrading the privileged partnership between Mauritius and India. The High Commissioner also presented her credentials to the President of the Republic H.E.Prithvirajsing Roopun on Wednesday 06 January.
A career diplomat, Mrs. K. Nandini Singla joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1997. She has a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Bombay University and an M.Phil. in Diplomatic Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. She hails from Karnataka and speaks Kannada, Hindi, English and French.
Prior to her appointment as High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Mrs K. Nandini Singla served as the Ambassador of India to Portugal from July 2016 to December 2020. From April 2015-June 2016, she was Joint Secretary (Europe West) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, handling India’s relations with the European Union, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Luxembourg, Ireland, Monaco and Andorra.
Prior to this, from March 2012 to April 2015, she worked as Director in the Ministry’s Americas Division dealing with India’s relations with USA and Canada. Mrs. Nandini Singla also served as First Secretary/Counsellor (Economic) at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva from 2009 to 2011 and handled multilateral trade and economic issues such as intellectual property rights, trade and development, South-South cooperation and global internet governance. She served at the High Commission of India in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as First Secretary (Economic and Commercial) and Head of Chancery during 2005-2008, focusing on India-Bangladesh economic and commercial cooperation, India’s development assistance projects in Bangladesh and chancery administration.
Prior to that, she worked as Under Secretary (UN Political Division) in the Ministry of External Affairs from 2003 to 2005, focusing on UN Peacekeeping and UN Security Council issues. She began her diplomatic career as Third Secretary/Second Secretary (Political, Culture and Media) at the Embassy of India in Paris from 1999-2002.
Her published articles include From World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to World Innovation Promotion Organization? Whither WIPO? in the WIPO Journal: Analysis of Intellectual Property Issues (2011, Vol. 3, Issue 1); and Issues and Challenges in Modern Peace Operations, co-authored with Ambassador B.S. Prakash in the IDSA journal Strategic Analysis (2005, Vol. 29). She also presented a policy paper on Global Internet Governance at the U.N. Commission on Science and Technology for Development in Geneva in July 2011.
Ambassador Singla is an ASPEN Fellow and Fellow of the India Leadership Initiative of the Ananta Aspen Centre. She was awarded the Prime Minister’s Silver Medal as “All India Best NCC Cadet’ in the Senior Cadets category in 1990 and represented India in the NCC Youth Exchange Programme with Canada in 1991-92. She was also the recipient of the Esprit de Corps trophy in the combined civil services training programme at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, in 1997.
She is married to Sanjeev Singla, a fellow diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service who is currently India’s Ambassador to Israel. A mother of two sons aged 19 and 14, she enjoys nature, movies, walking, outdoor activities, spirituality and spending time with her golden retriever dog.
First Indian Woman Diplomat
History recalls that Mrs Chonira Belliappa Muthamma (24 January 1924 – 14 October 2009) was the first woman to clear the Indian Civil Services examinations. She ranks fist among all the candidates. She was also the first woman to join the Indian Foreign Service. She was the first Indian woman diplomat as well. Later, she became the first Indian woman Ambassador (or High Commissioner) also. When she entered the service, Muthamma was made to sign an undertaking that she would resign from her job once she got married. She is remembered for her successful crusade for gender equality in the Indian Civil Service.
Diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius were established in 1948, soon after India’s independence. Shri Dharam Yash Dev was appointed as the first Commissioner in September 1948 who remained in office till June 1950.
Following Mauritius’ independence in March 1968, the representation was upgraded to High Commission. Shri Avtar Singh became the first High Commissioner of India to Mauritius.
Available records at the High Commission suggest that the High Commission was first housed adjacent to Champs de Mars. It moved to Bank of Baroda Building afterwards. Since 1993, the High Commission is located in the LIC Building, President John Kennedy Street. This is a prominent landmark in Port Louis designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa. The High Commission of India will soon be moving to its brand new premises in Ebene Cybercity.
It is estimated that about 10,000 Indian nationals currently reside in Mauritius.