MEA gets going on mission possible
By Devirupa Mitra - NEW DELHI
Published: 07th Oct 2012 09:18:16 AM
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is suddenly waking up after little ambassadorial activity since June, causing both a backlog and logjam in the Indian diplomatic service. Many senior diplomats will be retiring in the coming months and final decisions have to be taken to fill up important seats—Islamabad, Kabul and New York. However, quite a few surprises—some even unpleasant— have been sprung in the South Block corridors—last minute envoy changes by the PMO, wild card entries taking the eligible aback, extensions delaying postings and sensitive adjustments in tenure periods according to the importance of the postings.
From January to July, MEA issued 31 press releases announcing appointments to heads Indian embassies and high commission worldwide. In September came the announcement of Prime minister’s private secretary Jaideep Sarkar’s posting as ambassador to Israel—a critical position that had been vacant for around two months. Meanwhile, his predecessor, Navtej Sarna had joined as Additional Secretary (international organisations) in Delhi already early last month, even before Sarkar’s announcement. The AS position had been lying vacant for the past three months.
At the secretary level, 1974 batch Hardeep Singh Puri, permanent representative of India to the United Nations on extension will retire by February. Sources say that deputy chief of mission in the US, Arun Kumar Singh, has been given the boarding pass to New York in Puri’s place. M Ganapathi (1975), Secretary (East) in MEA is retiring along with Puri and the current favourite to replace him is Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty.