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New British deputy high commissioner takes charge in Chennai

New British deputy high commissioner takes charge in Chennai
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Oliver Ballhatchet has assumed charge as the British Deputy High Commissioner here.

Chennai: Oliver Ballhatchet has assumed charge as the British Deputy High Commissioner here. Ballhatchet, succeeding Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, would be representing the UK in Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry, an official press release here said on Tuesday.

"As the head of the Deputy High Commission in Chennai, Oliver's role will include promoting business and trade and also strengthening relationships between Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the UK," it said. Having joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2004, he has served in various portfolios including counter-terrorism, energy and climate change before joining the British Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil. Later, he moved to the British Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, where he was the political consul.

For the past two years, he served as the deputy head of the UK Government's UN Peacekeeping Joint Unit, the release said. During his stint in Brazil, he was also the Olympic and Paralympic Attach for the British teams at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it said. He was quoted in the release as saying that "the UK and India have been among the top five investors in each other's economies since 2010." "Last year, Tamil Nadu alone accounted for a third of all UK investments in India.

I'm glad to be representing the UK at a time when our business relationship in this region is growing", he said. Ballatchet has visited India before and had spent three months teaching in a junior school in Patiala, Punjab. He has both a degree and an Honorary Doctorate in Law and has a keen interest in sport, especially cricket, which he is looking forward to pursuing with enthusiasm in Chennai, the release further said.

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