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Indian origin diplomat Australia’s new high commissioner to India

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Canberra/New Delhi:  A senior career diplomat of Indian origin, Harinder Sindhu, was on Thursday named Australia’s new high commissioner to India.

She will replace Patrick Suckling in New Delhi and will have non-resident accreditation to Bhutan as well.

She is the third Indian-origin envoy in India, after the US and Canadian envoys and the second Indian-origin Australian high commissioner in India.

“India is one of Australia’s closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop stated while making the announcement.

“It is our 10th largest trading partner and our two-way investment is worth over $20 billion,” she stated.
Bishop said that Australia would continue to push for the conclusion of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement with India, designed to take the economic relationship between the two countries 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,” Bishop said.

Sidhu is a senior career officer with the Australia’s 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. 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 advisor 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.

In a separate statement, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi said that it would welcome Sidhu to India as the Australian high commissioner-designate next week .

It quoted Sidhu as saying that she was looking forward to her new role in a dynamic country.

“India is one of the most exciting places for a diplomat to be at the moment. India’s economic prospects are bright and it is becoming a more influential and active international player,” she was quoted as saying.

“The Australia-India relationship has grown substantially over the past few years and I will dedicate myself to building that relationship further,” she said.

“At a personal level, I have always been fascinated by the country of my heritage and am keen to learn more about India – its language, culture and history – while I am there.”

Both of Sidhu’s parents are from Punjab and her father was born in India.

Sidhu was born in Singapore and settled in Australia with her family as a child.

She speaks a little Punjabi and Hindi but is looking forward to the opportunity to become more fluent, according to the high commission statement.

One of Sidhu’s first tasks in the job is likely to be hosting the Australian men’s and women’s cricket teams in India for the T20 cricket World Cup next month, it added.(IANS)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

water
Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)