Who will be India’s next envoy to Britain?August 28th, 2011 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Lobbying for India House, the seat of the Indian high commission in London, has intensified with senior diplomats and officials jockeying for the coveted diplomatic posting.
Nalin Surie stepped down as India’s high commissioner July 31, when he retired from the foreign service. He was offered a six-month extension but declined.
Reliable sources said among the top probables for India House are Pavan K. Varma, currently India’s ambassador to Bhutan and a former director general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), and Sujatha Singh, India’s high commissioner to Australia.
The grapevine has it that ICCR president Karan Singh is pushing for Varma, who served in the ICCR before heading to Thimphu. He has also been director of the Nehru Centre in London.
Sujatha Singh, who headed the west Europe division in the external affairs ministry before she headed to Canberra as India’s envoy, is also keen on the London job.
Sujatha Singh is the wife of Sanjay Singh, who is currently secretary (east) in the external affairs ministry. She is the daughter of T.V. Rajeshwar, a former Intelligence Bureau chief and former governor of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, is politically well-connected and has requisite seniority that makes her a strong contender for the London posting.
Navin Chawla, a former chief election commissioner and considered close to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, is also eying India House and said to be politically lobbying for the prized job.
No decision has yet been taken, but the buzz is that a final call on the the high-profile India House posting will be taken only after Sonia Gandhi returns early next month after treatment abroad .
London is the last of the key capitals that is waiting for a new Indian envoy in a chain of high-profile diplomatic assignments that began weeks ago.
Jayant Prasad, who was special secretary in charge of public diplomacy in the external affairs ministry, Friday assumed office as India’s envoy to Nepal, replacing Rakesh Sood. Sood has been named India’s ambassador to Paris. Nirupama Rao, who served as India’s foreign secretary for two years, has been appointed New Delhi’s envoy to Washington.
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