Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 30, 2022, 10:01

Indian Ambassadors and High Commissioners are both accredited diplomats sent by the country as its permanent representative in a foreign country. The Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner is often confusing because both the terms are used in a similar context and mean more or less the same.

Before we learn about the difference between ambassador and high commissioner, let's understand their definitions

Who is an Ambassador?

The representative of the Government of India in other nations, including Commonwealth Nations, is known as an Ambassador. For instance, the representative of India in the United States of America is called the Indian Ambassador to the United States of America.

Ambassadors have the highest authority with diplomatic relations in a foreign country.

Who is a High Commissioner?

High Commissioner is a representative or a head diplomat to the Commonwealth of Nations, i.e. she/he is responsible to maintain relations between two commonwealth countries. For instance, the representative of the Government of India in New Zealand is known as the High Commissioner.

The High Commission of India is headed by the High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner. It usually has the following wings: Administration, Consular, Commerce, Community Affairs, and Information Culture.

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Difference between Ambassador and High Commissioner

Ambassador

High Commissioner

Ambassadors are the highest-ranking envoys accredited to a foreign government as the official resident representative of their native country. They are often sent on temporary diplomatic assignments and required to reside in a foreign country.

A High Commissioner is a senior diplomat in a Commonwealth Nation who is in charge of a diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another. Her/his diplomatic mission is known as High Commission.

The offices of the Indian Foreign Ministry in non-commonwealth countries are known as Embassies.

The offices of the Indian Foreign Ministry in commonwealth countries are called the High Commission.

Ambassadors are responsible for the native country's foreign policies and external affairs.

High commissioners usually represent foreign relations between two commonwealth countries.

Ambassadors' duties include representing a nation, making speeches on diverse Indian issues, engaging with high dignitaries, organizing events, engaging in social service, encouraging India's bilateral ties, engaging with the local population, etc.

Earlier, High Commissioners were also in charge of decolonization duties. Today, their functions are political, economic cooperation between two countries, trade investment, cultural activities, exchanges, press and media liaison, etc.

Both Ambassadors and High Commissioners are highly respected posts in the Government of India and both begin their careers as IFS officers. They are trained to maintain diplomatic relations between their home country and the foreign country. One of the main objectives of both the high commissioner and the ambassador is to work for peace and maintenance of good, bilateral relationships between the two countries.

To become an Ambassador or High Commissioner in India, one has to clear the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil Services Examination (CSE) consists of two stages: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (CSP) and the Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview).

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FAQs on Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner

Q.1. What is the difference between ambassador and a high commissioner?

The Main Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner is that A High commissioner is a senior diplomat in a Commonwealth Nation whereas an Ambassador is an envoy sent on a diplomatic mission to a foreign country.

Q.2. What is the difference between the post of an ambassador and a high commissioner?

The high commissioner is the head of state in another country and the ambassador is the diplomatic representative of one country in another country.

Q.3. What is the difference between the process of appointment of an ambassador and a high commissioner in India?

The President approves the appointments of both the posts on the recommendations of the Prime Minister, the External Affairs Minister, and in the agreement of the receiving State.

Q.4. What is the difference between the power of execution of an ambassador and a high commissioner?

Both ambassadors and high commissioners are the highest-ranking representatives of India and have more or less the same share of responsibilities.