20-year-old Rajasthan girl spends a day as British High Commissioner

New Delhi: Twenty-year-old Aditi Maheshwari from Rajasthan recently became the British High Commissioner to India for a day.

Maheshwari, who is pursuing her Bachelor’s in Physical Science from the University of Delhi’s Miranda House College won the ‘High Commissioner for the Day’ contest organised annually since 2017 to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, British High Commission said in a press release.

Aditi, who aspires to join the Indian Administrative Service, is the fifth winner of the India edition of the competition.

As the UK’s top diplomat in India, Aditi experienced a broad variety of diplomatic activities on Friday. She observed the India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue alongside Ministers Raj Kumar Singh and Kwasi Kwarteng, the release said.

“She met with beneficiaries of a leadership programme for aspiring female politicians funded by the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund, climate experts from the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), who signed the UK in India Pledge for Progress, to show their leadership in gender equality and young leaders from the not-for-profit Global Youth,” the British High Commission informed.

Aditi’s packed day also included a hands-on demonstration of the I-PACE – Jaguar’s zero-emissions, all-electric performance SUV to be used by world leaders at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next month.

Talking about her experience, Aditi said, “I had applied for the competition last year as well and I’m really pleased that I got the opportunity. The interaction with senior diplomats and with women from ‘She Leads’ leadership programme were the two personal highlights of the day for me.”

“I also enjoyed being driven around in an electric vehicle by the High Commissioner. The amount of work that both the UK and India are doing to tackle issues like climate change and gender inequality made me really hopeful as a young woman. I will cherish this day for a long time to come,” she added.

The UK and India are working together to help ensure women and girls can reach their full potential.

As per the release, the applicants for this year’s competition were invited to submit a one-minute video answering the question: ‘How can young people best support tackle the global challenge of climate change?’

Alex Ellis, Deputy High Commissioner for the Day (on other days, High Commissioner to India), said, “It was a pleasure for me to work with Aditi throughout the day. Her confidence and thoughtfulness on important issues like climate change and women’s rights shone through. The UK is working with India to provide a platform for young women like Aditi to help them reach their potential.”

“I am pleased that so many young girls sent in their entries for this year’s competition which focussed on climate change. Women are disproportionately affected by climate change and are often left out of decision making on it. The UK is committed to hosting an inclusive COP26 that advances gender equality by calling on all countries to implement the Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25,” he added.

In India, the British High Commission is working with state governments, law enforcement agencies, education authorities and British businesses to promote gender equality.