Gurjit Singh

Former Ambassador of India to Germany, Indonesia, Ethiopia, ASEAN and the African Union
Chair, CII Task Force on Trilateral Cooperation in Africa,
Professor, IIT Indore

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Gurjit Singh

Gurjit Singh About

Former Ambassador of India to Germany, Indonesia, Ethiopia, ASEAN and the African Union

He Chairs the CII Business Task Force on Trilateral Cooperation in Africa including the Asia Africa Growth Corridor with Japan. He comments on current events on TV and in journals. His report on such cooperation in 2019, focused on private sector engagement to make Trilaterals successful.

He is associated with the social impact investment movement and is working on expanding it in Africa along with other trilateral initiatives, including with Japan, for B2B engagement. He is an independent director of companies achieving social impact. He is also associated with civil society efforts through the Aavishkar Foundation, and the Advisory Council of Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi.

Ambassador Singh is an avowed cinema buff having an interest in Indian cinema, which is both academic and historical. He is very fond of sports, including cricket and is a qualified umpire from the Kenya Cricket Association. He enjoys travelling, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and meeting people. His commitment to enhance outreach programmes in every assignment and to enlarge the agenda of engagement is well-known. He is considered a business-friendly developmental diplomat.

He is married and has two children.

Business-friendly Diplomat
Business-friendly Diplomat

Ambassador Singh was well known as a business-friendly diplomat, who often implemented developmental programmes and expanded India’s outreach. The widening of the scope of India’s perspective in countries he served in , have benefitted from his dedication to culture, trade, investment and other popular engagements.

Education
Education

Ambassador Singh schooled at the prestigious Mayo College, Ajmer and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Politics at the St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. He is a Post Graduate in International Studies from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has attended programmes at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Indian Institute of Mass Communications and the Indian School of Business. He acquired proficiency in Japanese at the Naganuma School in Tokyo. Post-retirement he was appointed Hon. He is a Professor of International Relations at the IIT, Indore. He has lectured as part of the Shaping Young Minds programme of the AIMA, besides experience sharing at defence, educational establishments and universities.

Socio-Economic Development
Socio-Economic Development

On his second assignment in Tokyo concurrent with India’s economic liberalisation Ambassador Singh acquired new dimensions of economic diplomacy. He has frequently contributed essays and articles to journals and books on economic development, strategic perspectives and trade issues. He has an abiding interest in developmental economics and issues of sustainable development. He was well known in the corridors of UNEP and UN-HABITAT and subsequently was instrumental in supporting the Africa Climate Policy Centre at the UNECA at Addis Ababa.

Past Activities History

Ambassador Gurjit Singh joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1980 and in 37 years of service served in many different countries. He is well known as a business-friendly diplomat, who has often implemented developmental programmes and expanded India’s outreach. The widening of the scope of India’s perspective in those countries have benefitted from his dedication to culture, trade, investment and other popular engagements.

His initial posting was at the Embassy of India in Tokyo where he earned proficiency in the Japanese language. He was in-charge of political, information and education matters at the Embassy of India, Tokyo before returning to New Delhi at the East Asia Desk. In 1988, he was posted to Colombo as First Secretary (Political), during the period of the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) and its subsequent deinduction.

With the advent of economic liberalisation, in 1991, he was posted back to Tokyo, as head of the Commercial Wing and was part of India’s effort to attract foreign investment. At that time, he wrote his first book “The Abalone Factor: An Overview of the India-Japan Business Relations”, which won him the Bimal Sanyal Award for Research by an Indian Foreign Service officer. The book was published in 1997 when Japan was the partner country at the India Engineering Trade Fair (IETF). He was well known in business circles and among economic institutions as a supportive diplomat and he frequently held consultations in Japanese with the sogo sosha in closed meetings.

Subsequently, he was posted as Deputy High Commissioner of India to Nairobi, where he was also the Deputy Permanent Representative of India to UNEP and UN-HABITAT and contributed to the growing interest in environmental and urbanisation issues. He was instrumental in raising the trade levels to new heights through a series of market surveys and the first Made in India Show in Nairobi 1996

Published Books Public

The Harambee Factor: India-Africa Economic and Development Partnership

The Harambee Factor: India-Africa Economic and Development Partnership

This covers in detail how the India Africa partnership blossomed in the 21st century. It is a deep dive into the decision making, approach, implementation and results of the India Africa Summits since 2008.

India in Africa - Developing Trilateral Partnership

India In Africa - Developing Trilateral Partnership

The report on 'India In Africa Developing Trilateral Partnership' looks at how India and African countries could jointly partner with third countries like Japan and France for Africa's needs and requirements. The report has identified partners who have expressed interests in this and potential models that could be adopted. It was released at the backdrop of the 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership held from 17 - 19 March 2019 at New Delhi.

Opportunity Beckons, Adding Momentum to the Indo-German Partnership

Opportunity Beckons, Adding Momentum to the Indo-German Partnership

30 Indiana nd German Thought leaders discussed the Indo German partnership from economy to democracy, to innovation and education and more.

Masala Bumbu

Masala Bumbu

Enhancing the India-Indonesia partnership. It brought together 19 Indonesian and 17 Indian thought leaders setting a new agenda for cooperation over 13 themes. The book had messages from Indian Minister for External Affairs Shrimati Sushma Swaraj and Indonesian Foreign Minister Ibu Retno Marsudi

Travels through Time

Travels through Time

A unique format of a comic book was used by Ambassador Singh with Tamalia Alisjahbana to retell the ancient story of India and Indonesia till 2015. This was released on the first International Day of Yoga in Jakarta in 2015.

Read comic
The Injera and the Parantha

The Injera and the Parantha

Enhancing the Ethiopia-India relationship. With A Foreword by Meles Zenawi PM of Ethiopia (1991-2012)

60 Years of Ethiopia India Friendship

60 Years of Ethiopia India Friendship

This collated various presentations at 2 commemorative seminars. It had a foreword by the Minister of External Affairs of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. The Gandhi memorial lecture of 2008 by PM Meles Zenawi is included as are warm recollections by former Indian and Ethiopian ambassadors.

Remembering the Harar Military Academy

Remembering the Harar Military Academy

To Commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between India and Ethiopia and the 50th Anniversary of the Haile Selassie/Harar Military Academy. This included recollections of the alumni of the Academy and Indian Military officers who established it and were instructors.

Places and Spaces

Places and Spaces

Proceedings of the Indo-Ethiopian Symposium on Women’s Issues.

The Expansion of the Ethiopia India Partnership

The Expansion of the Ethiopia India Partnership

The Expansion of the Ethiopia India Partnership through the Regional Conclave in Addis Abba. India: A partner of Choice.

The Abalone Factor

The Abalone Factor

This was an early book on how to do business with Japan. Published by CII in 1997 it helped Indan businessmen understand the nuances of Japanese practice. This was based on Ambassador Singh's personal experiences in Japan. This was awarded the Bimla Sanyal Prize for research by an IFS Officer.

India's Foreign Policy in the Post- COVID World Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats

India's Foreign Policy in the Post- COVID World Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats

Edited by Ambassador Surendra Kumar, 2022 | This book looks at future trends of India's foreign policy in the post pandemic period. Ambassador Gurjit Singh contributed a chapter on India's Act East Policy in the post pandemic world. It talks about the reassessment by many countries and regional groupings of their national security concerns and points out that countries now look at a wider set of issues to determine their national interests. This leads to loosening of relationships, strengthening of sectoral partnerships and broader definitions of security perceptions. He makes suggestions for enhancing the impact of the Act East Policy.

India Africa Partnerships for Food Security and Capacity Building: South-South Cooperation

India Africa Partnerships for Food Security and Capacity Building: South-South Cooperation

Edited by Dr Renu Modi and Meera Venkatachalam. 2021 | This book covers food security and agriculture as critical areas of development between India and Africa. Ambassador Gurjit Singh contributed the chapter on India and Africa: Is the cooperation sustainable? It covers in detail the capacity building, investment and project-based support for agriculture related development in Africa including trade, investments, lines of credit and grants.

Agriculture Development and Food Security in Africa: The impact of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian investments

Agriculture Development and Food Security in Africa: The impact of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian investments

Edited by Fanta Cheru and Prof Renu Modi. 2013 | This book looked at the role of BRICS countries particularly Brazil, China and India, in dealing with African agricultural ambitions. The book presented a perspective from Southern authors. Ambassador Gurjit Singh contributed the chapter on India and Africa: New trends in sustainable agriculture development, in which he showed how the India Africa Summits of which two had been held by then, had focused impactfully on agriculture and supported it through government, PPP and private sector FDI models

Economic Diplomacy: India’s Experience

Economic Diplomacy: India’s Experience

Edited by Amb. Kishan S Rana and Bipul Chatterjee, 2011 | The book looks at economic diplomacy in various facets. Ambassador Gurjit Singh contributed a chapter determining the impact of the India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme particularly in Ethiopia. The essay traverses the role of Indian teachers in building educational capacity in Ethiopia since the 1940s and comes to 2010 during which period, major capacity building efforts were undertaken and how Ethiopia enthusiastically responded to them.

South-South Cooperation: Africa on the Centre Stage

South-South Cooperation: Africa on the Centre Stage

Edited by Professor Renu Modi. 2011 | This book looked at the contemporary reconfigurations of South-South cooperation which started to complement the existing North-South development paradigm. The book had a foreword by Ambassador Gurjit Singh, who at that time, was the Director General for Africa, in the Ministry of External Affairs for India. He drew attention to the growing interest in Africa as the next destination of international trade and investment and the greater acceptance by African countries of alternate development models.

Indian Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities

Indian Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities

Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi brought out this book iwith a foreword by the then Minister of External Affairs Shri Pranab Mukherjee in 2007. The book looked at the important aspects of India's challenges just before the financial crisis of 2008. Ambassador Gurjit Singh contributed a chapter on India and Africa: A response to African institutionalization in the 21st century. This was written before the first India Africa Summit of 2008 and set out ideas of what India and Africa could do together, in furthering their development objectives.

Commentaries Press

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