NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will see a flurry of reshuffles this year with nine key diplomats retiring. Of them, at least two Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers’ hopes of becoming the Foreign Secretary have been dashed following the extension given to S Jaishankar (1977 batch).
The first to retire will be Ranjit Rae, a 1980 batch officer posted in Kathmandu. He will be superannuating this month. He is tipped to be replaced by 1985 batch officer T S Tirumurthy.
In March, Secretary (West) Sujata Mehta (1980 batch) and Secretary Economic Relations Amar Sinha (1981 batch) will hang up their boots. The High Commissioner to South Africa and Kingdom of Lesotho, Ruchi Ghanshyam (1982 batch), is tipped to replace Mehta.
Also due to retire in March are India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UN Offices in Geneva Ajit Kumar (1979 batch) and India’s Ambassador to Germany Gurjit Singh (1980 batch).
The Ambassador to Italy, Anil Wadhwa (1979 batch), will retire in May. Wadhwa was shifted from the post of Secretary East in the MEA to Italy. South Block was abuzz that with this move, Jaishankar nipped the chances of the high-power secretary for the top slot. The fate of Wadhwa, who oversaw the revival of bilateral ties between India and Italy, was sealed when the government decided to extend Jaishankar’s tenure by a year.
Jaishankar’s extension means that Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna (1980 batch), will also be retiring in December this year. Another post that will be vacant is of the Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations after 1981 batch officer Amarendra Khatua retires this year. The post of Ambassador to Canada is also lying vacant.