SM Krishna to open Jaffna and H’tota Indian consulates general


By Venkat Narayan
Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, November 6: Indian External Affairs Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna will formally open Indian Consulates General (CGs) in Jaffna and Hambantota during his upcoming visit to Sri Lanka, scheduled for 25-28 November 2010. The Sunday Island understands from the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K Kantha that the officials appointed as Consuls General will arrive in Colombo in mid-November.

While V Mahalingam will head the Jaffna consulate, Mohan Kumaran will be in charge of the Hambantota office. The Government of Sri Lanka has given its consent to their being posted in the island-nation. The two officers belong to the prestigious Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

Mahalingam, 49, is a native of Tirpur in Tamil Nadu. After obtaining a degree in engineering from Coimbatore, he studied at the Indian Instiute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad before joining the IFS.

Now a director in the Consular, Passport and Visa Division of the Indian Foreign Office, he has worked in the Indian embassy in Jakarta (Indonesia), its high commission in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and embassy in Zagreb (Croatia) in various capacities.

Mahalingam told the Sunday Island here today: "I am looking forward to taking up my new assignment in Jaffna."

Mohan Kumaran, a native of Kerala, is a first secretary in the Indian high commission in Kampala, Uganda. He is currently on home leave before he arrives in Sri Lanka to take up his new assignment in Hambantota.

To begin with, the consulates general will function from rented accommodation in Jaffna and Hambantota.

At present, India has a High Commission in Colombo and an assistant high commission in Kandy. Sri Lanka maintains a high commission in New Delhi, a deputy high commission in Chennai, a consulate general in Mumbai, and an honorary consul in Kolkata.

The opening of Indian consulates general in Jaffna and Hambantota will further strengthen people-to-people contacts between the two countries, Indian officials said.

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