‘Modi made Israel feel important partner and sent his trusted’: Meet ‘expert’ Envoy Singla in Tel Aviv

He served as Private Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for five years immediately after assuming office in 2014. His colleagues say he has made a “huge” contribution to shaping India’s diplomatic policies towards Israel, and has taken a cautious and sensitive approach to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Meet Sanjeev Kumar Singla, a 1997 batch IFS officer, who currently serves as India’s ambassador to India’s bastion in Israel, managing 18,000 Indian professionals, students and 85,000 Jews of Indian origin.

Among his colleagues, Singla is known as an “expert on Israel” and other West Asian countries as he served in the country before 2014. July 2014. He was appointed Indian Ambassador to Israel in October 2019.

Apart from being in Israel for the longest time, Singla served in various capacities in the Indian Missions in Paris (France), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Geneva (Switzerland). He also served in key positions in the US Desk, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and was appointed as Director in the Office of the Secretary of State.

A senior IFS officer, who worked with Singla at the MEA, said he had made “significant” contributions to shaping India’s diplomatic and strategic ties with Israel.

Since the 1950s, India’s foreign policy with Israel has evolved in three phases, with the first phase having no political ties. After 1992, India’s foreign policy towards Israel was formally upgraded and diplomatic relations were established between the two countries. The senior IFS officer added that after PM Modi’s visit to Israel in 2017, the two countries initiated a strategic partnership on several issues, mainly on innovation and knowledge.

Singla leads a seven-member team of officers at the Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Singla’s significant contribution to Indo-Israel relations

In the Israeli context, PM Modi’s statement was carefully crafted following the October 7 Gaza attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The prime minister referred to the attack as a “terrorist attack” but did not name Hamas or Palestine or Gaza, instead clearly siding with Israel.

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  • “After his visit in 2017, the Prime Minister realized that Israel is going to be an important partner for India. Israel has a history of helping India with weapons and other related technologies during such high-profile wars. More Moreover, the Israeli government’s defense strategy against terrorist groups was unambiguous,” said a retired IFS officer, explaining Singla’s role.

    “PM Modi realized that the partnership (with Israel) would turn into an important one. He wanted an officer with whom he could communicate and who could implement his ideas, who (India-Israel ) could contribute quite a bit in diplomacy. Hence, he chose Singla, who was then working as his private secretary and also had a brief embassy experience in Israel,” he added. said

    First Publication: October 10, 2023, 10:28 IST

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