His Excellency Ajay Bisaria
High Commissioner of India to Canada
Ajay Bisaria has been the High Commissioner of India to Canada from March 1, 2020. He is a career diplomat who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1987.
He received his early education in Mumbai and Delhi. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the St. Stephens College, Delhi University (1980–83), a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata (1983–85) and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Princeton University, US (2008 – 09). Prior to joining the diplomatic service, Bisaria worked briefly with the American Express Bank and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), in Delhi.
After training at the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi, Ajay Bisaria chose Russian as his language of specialization and was posted at the Indian Embassy in Moscow (1988 – 1991) where he was attached to the economic and political wings of the Embassy. He worked as a Soviet internal affairs specialist in the months leading up to the break-up of the USSR.
He served as Under Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs on the East Europe desk (1991 – 92) when India was engaged in building new relationships with the post-Soviet countries. He then moved to the Ministry of Commerce (1992- 95), in the era of economic liberalization. He contributed to a new trade policy paradigm, using his training in economics and finance as part of a team that managed a complex but successful transition of India’s trade from rupee barter arrangements to a hard currency system.
He was posted as First Secretary in the Indian Embassy in Berlin (1995–1999), where he looked after commercial matters at a time of rising economic engagement between Germany and a liberalizing India. He was also entrusted with the project for the development and construction of the now-iconic building of the Indian Embassy in Berlin in the historic Tiergarten.
Ajay Bisaria was appointed Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of India in 1999, and served in this capacity till 2004. During most of this period, he was aide to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and contributed to various economic, defence and foreign policy initiatives of the period. He attended more than 50 international meets with the Prime Minister.
Bisaria was posted to the World Bank in Washington D.C. as Advisor to the Executive Director for South Asia (2004–2008), where he worked on development projects and aid issues, contributing to corporate governance and multilateral economic diplomacy. He was involved in developing a policy approach to enhance India’s rankings in the Doing Business Reports.
In 2009, Bisaria moved to Delhi to serve as Joint Secretary (Eurasia) in the Ministry of External Affairs (2009–2014). His assignment was to head the Division coordinating overall policy and bilateral relations with the Eurasia region (including Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia). He helped articulate an ambitious policy vision for India in Central Asia (‘Connect Central Asia’) and coordinated India’s approach to six annual Indo-Russian summits. He helped articulate a coherent long-term vision of the India-Russia ‘special and privileged strategic partnership’. He also worked on India’s policy approach to multilateral entities like SCO and the Russia – India – China trilateral dialogue.He was India’s Ambassador to Poland, based in Warsaw, with concurrent accreditation to Lithuania from January 2015 to November, 2017. During his stint there, he focused on forging strong economic partnerships, while deepening India’s cultural footprint. He also served as India’s representative in the Warsaw-based Community of Democracies.
From December 2017 to February 2020, Ajay Bisaria served as the High Commissioner of India to Pakistan. He helped establish linkages for India to engage with a new Pakistan government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He was involved in furthering various initiatives including the Kartarpur Corridor. He returned to India when Pakistan downgraded the diplomatic relationship in August 2019.He assumed office as High Commissioner of India in Canada on 1st March 2020.
He holds the rank of Secretary to Government of India. He was part of the team representing India at the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva in September 2019, for a successful outreach on India’s human rights record.
Bisaria has published and lectured on issues of trade, finance and diplomacy with a focus on South Asia, Eurasia and Central Asia. He is fluent in Hindi, English and Russian; and has working knowledge of German, Polish and Urdu. He has a deep interest in yoga, plays golf and enjoys reading. He is married to environmentalist and writer, Bharati Chaturvedi, the founder of the NGO, Chintan.