New Delhi (NVI): Philip Barton, UK’s new High Commissioner to India today presented his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind, in a virtual ceremony.
Philip succeeds Dominic Asquith, who served as High Commissioner to India from April 2016 to January 2020. Jan Thompson, who served as Acting High Commissioner from February to June 2020, has returned to her role as Deputy High Commissioner, the British High Commission said in a statement.
On the occasion, the new UK High Commissioner said that the United Kingdom has a deep commitment to grow the relationship with India further and developing trade and economic partnership, now that the country has left European Union (EU).
“It is the greatest honour and privilege of my diplomatic career to represent the UK in this wonderful country. The UK-India relationship is remarkable and we share an unparalleled breadth and depth of connection. There is a deep commitment across the British government, industry and civil society to grow that relationship even further: developing our trade and economic partnership, now that the UK has left the EU; tackling the global challenges of climate change and green recovery, acting together as a force for good in the world; and working closely as partners to keep our countries safe and secure,” he said.
Philip said that he is arriving at an “extraordinarily difficult time.”
“Coronavirus is without precedent in modern times, but it has also brought out the importance of the modern partnership between the UK and India: from our excellent collaboration in developing and manufacturing a vaccine for global distribution, to securing essential medical supplies for health workers, to our joint determination to ‘build back better’ from this crisis. I see my job as ensuring that this crucial partnership continues to prosper,” he said.
“We often speak of the ‘living bridge’ of people, ideas and institutions that tie the UK and India together. I, too, am part of that bridge. My mother was born in Shimla and I was posted here in Delhi in the 1990s. I met my wife, Amanda, when we both lived and worked here and we named our daughter ‘India’ – not knowing I would return one day as High Commissioner,” the High Commissioner added.
“I am delighted to be back and look forward to continuing to build on what PM Modi has called an ‘unbeatable combination’ – a forward-looking, modern partnership between the UK and India,” Philip said.
Philip joined the Foreign Commission Office (FCO) in 1986 and has previously served as the Director General, Consular and Security in London, as the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, and as Deputy Ambassador in Washington. Prior to arriving in New Delhi last month, Philip helped the UK government adapt its long-term planning to the pandemic, the BHC statement read.
During the virtual ceremony, President Kovind also accepted credentials from Heads of Mission from New Zealand and Uzbekistan.