Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 21st, 2022

The Main Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner is that a High commissioner is a senior diplomat in a Commonwealth Nation. In contrast, an Ambassador is an envoy sent on a diplomatic mission to a foreign country. Indian Ambassadors and High Commissioners are the 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. Below you will learn about the major differences between these two posts in India.

Difference between Ambassador and High Commissioner

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 and foreign countries.

Difference between Ambassador and High Commissioner PDF

One of the main objectives of the High Commissioner and the Ambassador is to work for peace and maintain good, bilateral relationships between the two countries. Here is the major point of difference between the 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 and economic cooperation between two countries, trade investment, cultural activities, exchanges, press and media liaison, etc.

Similarities between Ambassador and High Commissioner

Both, Ambassadors and High Commissioners are selected by the Union Public Service Commission of India and often misunderstood as one. The similarities between Ambassador and High Commissioner can be understood by learning about their respective positions. Here is a brief description of these two-

Who is an Ambassador?

An Ambassador is the country's highest ranking representative with respect to another country holding diplomatic relations with India. The Ambassador is allowed to control the host country's specific territory (known as Anembassy). Thus, an Ambassador has the highest diplomatic rank. The Ambassador has the following responsibilities-

  • protect citizens.
  • support Prosperity.
  • work for peace.
  • extending consular facilities to the citizens of India living abroad and to foreigners.
  • Promoting friendly relations.
  • Negotiating disputed agreements.

Who is a High Commissioner?

High Commissioner is the senior diplomat in a Commonwealth Nation who is in charge of a diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another. The Commonwealth Nations are 53 former British territories member states that have a political association. It has a chief institution, Commonwealth Secretariat that focuses on intergovernmental aspects.

During British rule, the High Commissioners were appointed by the British government in order to maintain the group of territories that were not under the complete sovereignty of the Crown.

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FAQs on Difference Between Ambassador and 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.

  • An Ambassador is responsible for protecting the country’s citizens in the host country. He/she supports prosperity, work for peace, and promotes friendly relations with the host country. He also works on extending consular facilities to the citizens of India living abroad and to foreigners.

  • The High Commissioner is the head of state in another country, and the Ambassador is the diplomatic representative of one country in another country.

  • 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.

  • The High Commissioner is the senior diplomat in charge of the diplomatic mission in all the commonwealth nations. In certain nations, the Ambassador is considered as the High Commissioner.

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