Wednesday, June 29, 2011

India appoints new foreign secretary

He’s quiet, low profile and uncontroversial. The diplomat of diplomats, Ranjan Mathai, India’s ambassador in France was appointed foreign secretary on Monday. Mathai will succeed Nirupama Rao who has been named India’s ambassador to the US.
A 1974-batch IFS officer, 59-year-old Mathai will assume charge on August 1 and will have a two-year term, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash announced. He will occupy the top post at a time when India’s relations with Pakistan are gradually getting back on track and its strategic partnership with the US has reached new heights. Mathai was chosen above two other colleagues: Sharat Sabharwal posted as ambassador in Pakistan; and Hardeep Puri, India’s permanent representative in the United Nations. Puri has been retained in the UN to ensure a degree of continuity.
Mathai, who did his M A in political science from Pune University, has served in Indian missions in Vienna, Colombo, Washington, Tehran and Brussels.
As joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi between January 1995 to February 1998, he headed the division dealing with India’s relations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Maldives. He held the post of Deputy High Commissioner in India’s mission in the UK from August 2005 to January 2007.


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