Former diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu joins BJP

Former Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, recently made a transition from diplomacy to politics by joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Former diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu joins BJP
NASA/Bill Ingalls

Taranjit Singh Sandhu, a seasoned Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer from the 1988 batch, hails from a prestigious background. He is the grandson of Teja Singh Samundri, a former Congress leader and a founding member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). His decision to enter politics was speculated after his retirement on February 1. He began engaging with the people of Amritsar, his grandfather's birthplace, starting from February 23.

Sandhu's family history adds significance to his political venture. He is the first in his family since his grandfather to enter politics. His grandfather was imprisoned by the British for his involvement in the Gurdwara Reform Movement and the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Born on January 23, 1963, Sandhu has had a distinguished career in diplomacy, particularly in handling India's relations with the United States. He served in various capacities in the US, starting as a junior diplomat during the 1990s Pokhran nuclear tests. He later rose to the position of Deputy Chief of Mission and Ambassador. Sandhu is credited with playing a pivotal role in improving New Delhi's ties with Washington, DC, which had strained after the 1998 Pokhran nuclear test. During his tenure as First Secretary (Political) at the Indian Embassy, he was instrumental when the US Congress condemned Pakistan's involvement in the Kargil war.

Sandhu is recognized for his extensive network within the US political and administrative circles, spanning across party lines. He played a crucial role in organizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US in June and US President Joe Biden's visit to India in September. Additionally, during Modi's visits to the US in 2014 and 2016, Sandhu utilized social media effectively to amplify their impact.

Sandhu's entry into politics marks a significant development, given his diplomatic expertise and influential connections. His association with the BJP underscores the party's emphasis on roping in experienced professionals to strengthen its ranks.