Today I announce the appointment of Ms Harinder Sidhu as Australia's next High Commissioner to India.

India is one of Australia’s closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific region. It is our 10th largest trading partner and our two-way investment is worth over $20 billion.

The Government will continue to push for the conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with India, designed to take our economic relationship to a new level.

Australia also has strong strategic and defence ties with India, conducting our first bilateral maritime exercises in 2015. There are also over 450,000 people of Indian descent currently residing in Australia driving our strong education, cultural and tourism links.

Ms Sidhu will also have non-resident accreditation to Bhutan. Australia and Bhutan enjoy a warm relationship, built on strong people-to-people links and growing cooperation on international education.

Ms Sidhu is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, most recently serving as First Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy Division. She has previously served overseas in Moscow and Damascus. Ms Sidhu’s previous roles included First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Climate Change, Assistant Director-General in the Office of National Assessments and Senior Adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Sydney.

I thank outgoing High Commissioner Patrick Suckling for his strong contribution since 2013 in advancing Australia’s interests in India and Bhutan.

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