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Former Indian ambassador to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu joins BJP, likely to contest from Amritsar

Sandhu had served as Ambassador to the United States from February 2020 to January 2024. He is one of the most experienced former diplomats in US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington, DC.

Former Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu joined the BJP on Tuesday (19th March). He is expected to contest the election from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat against Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal of Amritsar, who will be representing the AAP. He joined the party in the presence of its general secretaries Vinod Tawde and Tarun Chugh.

On joining BJP, Former Ambassador of India to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said, “There has been a transformation in India-US relations in the past 4 years. It has transformed from a relationship to a partnership. India has received investments in many areas. Opportunities are created for the youth. I am concerned that Amritsar should not miss the opportunities the country is getting… The party will decide if I will contest the elections or not. My hometown Amritsar has a lot of potential and I am very affectionate towards it.”

Sandhu had served as Ambassador to the United States from February 2020 to January 2024. He is one of the most experienced former diplomats in US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington, DC.

Sandhu served as India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka from January 2017 to January 2020, before his current assignment in Washington DC. He formerly served as the Head of the Political Wing at India’s High Commission in Colombo from December 2000 to September 2004.

Sandhu was the Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013. He served in the Ministry of External Affairs in a variety of posts, including Joint Secretary (UN) from March 2009 to August 2011, and then Joint Secretary (Administration) in charge of the Human Resources Division. He also worked as an Officer on Special Duty (Press Relations) for the Ministry of External Affairs from December 1995 to March 1997.

Sandhu was born on January 23, 1963, and attended The Lawrence School in Sanawar before graduating with History Honours from St. Stephens College in Delhi. He earned a master’s degree in international relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

Sandhu began his diplomatic career in the former Soviet Union (Russia), where he served as the Third Secretary (Political) / Second Secretary (Commercial) of the Indian Mission from 1990 to 1992.

It is important to note that Sandhu in March last year was hurled abuses and threatened by the Khalistanis in Washington DC. The Khalistanis organised a protest against the Indian Embassy when Sandhu was the ambassador. Some of the protestors were also seen inciting violence and vandalising the Indian embassy. Khalistani demonstrators were then heard making baseless claims about alleged killings of religious minorities in India. 

Also, in November 2023, Sandhu was heckled by a group of pro-Khalistani elements during his visit to the Hicksville Gurdwara in New York’s Long Island.

Sandhu was visiting the Gurdwara on the occasion of Gurpurab to offer prayers. In a viral video, pro-Khalistani elements could be seen confronting the ambassador with irrelevant and baseless questions about the murder of Khalistani terrorists Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

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