The new Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi has expressed shock and anguish over the untimely demise of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Mr Pardeshi recalled aptly, “She cared about people.”

“I would say, she has changed the orientation of the Indian diplomacy for good.

“All Indian diplomatic outstations have become exceptionally people-centric now,” Mr Pardeshi said.

Earlier taking recourse to express his shock and grief Mr Pardeshi recalled his association with the former External Affairs Minister as Passport Officer of India.

“Our beloved former EAM of India Smt Sushma Swaraj is no more. Her contribution in connecting MEA with the people would be remembered for ever. As head of #passportindia, I worked very closely with her. It’s a shocking news! Om Shanti.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Mr Pardeshi said, “I had an experience of working closely with her right since the beginning of tenure as External Affairs Minister.”

“She had a clear vision that India was a large country and passport is an important travelling document that signifies their freedom. Therefore we need to work harder to deliver up to their expectations.”

“I also recall she was extremely passionate about opening passport services for the people of North East India,” Mr Pardeshi said.

 In his previous role as the Chief Passport Officer of India for about five years, Mr Pardeshi led the Passport Seva Project in various capacities and had the opportunity to lead Ms Swaraj on various visits to different Passport offices across the country.