Retired Chief of Air Staff N A K Browne has been named the country’s next ambassador to Norway.
The Ministry of External Affairs made the formal announcement of the appointment on Tuesday.
Browne was the IAF Chief from July 2011 to December 2013. It was during his tenure that the country placed a mammoth order of 126 fighter aircraft with Dassault Rafale. The final deal, however, is yet to be inked. He also had to face criticism over the scandal regarding the purchase of VVIP helicopters from Agusta Westland, in which a former Air Chief is implicated.Once Browne takes over, there will be two former Defence Chiefs posted as ambassadors. Retired Navy Chief Nirmal Verma is the ambassador to Canada.
There has been a slew of new ambassadorial appointments this year - nearly 20 in the last few months.
Browne’s appointment is the first political appointment since November 2012, when Admiral Verma went to Ottawa. Other Air force chiefs who have been appointed as head of Indian diplomatic missions are Arjan Singh to Switzerland, Dilbagh Singh to Brazil and Aspy Engineer to Iran.
Besides Admiral Verma, Admiral Suresh Mehta was also posted as the Indian ambassador to New Zealand.
While most of the major ambassadorial announcements have already been made, there are still some changes in the offing to Algeria, Poland, Indian mission to UN in Geneva and Canada in the second half of this year.
Towards the end of this year, the position of Secretary (west) will also become available with Dinkar Khullar’s retirement.