When Consul General Nagesh Singh returns home this summer, India will send in his place its first female diplomat posted to Atlanta, a medical doctor by training and a more than 20-year veteran of India’s foreign service, Global Atlanta has learned.
Swati Vijay Kulkarni will become the third person to lead the consulate general of India, which was established here in 2012.
She is currently heading up the regional passport office in Mumbai, but she has also held overseas postings as consul general in Cape Town, South Africa, and as deputy chief of mission (second in command to the ambassador) at the Indian embassy in Muscat, Oman, according to a curriculum vitae published online.
Before that, she worked in India’s High Commission in London to combat discrimination against recent Indian medical school graduates in the United Kingdom. She also served in Spain and Mauritius.
While the profession globally tends to skew male, India is among those countries that haven’t shied away from filling their top diplomatic posts with women. Two of its last five ambassadors to the U.S. were women, as is the current external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj.
Dr. Kulkarni will serve a massive Indian-origin community estimated to number more than 100,000 in Georgia alone; she’ll cover six states overall with an Indian population of nearly 300,000. She’ll invariably run into fellow doctors, as Indian-origin physicians make up a significant slice of the medical community in the U.S.
Dr. Kulkarni was a “batch mate” to Mr. Singh, meaning that they entered the foreign service in the same year: 1995. These select cohorts traditionally form enduring professional bonds over nearly two years of training.
Watch a video of Dr. Kulkarni discussing India passport reforms here.
Mr. Singh had some parting advice for Atlanta and his British counterpart at a World Affairs Council of Atlanta conversation last week. See more on that here.