NEW DELHI: In the first big batch of high-profile appointments of ambassadors, the government has decided on new Indian envoys to Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Russia, Germany and United Nations.
China expert and Indian ambassador to Bhutan, Gautam Bambawale, has been sent to Islamabad. Bambawale was in the running for the post in Beijing, which went to the front-runner Vijay Gokhale, an old China hand. Gokhale will be leaving Germany early in his tenure and followed in Berlin by Gurjit Singh, who is currently Indian envoy to Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has got a new helmsman, Harsh Shringla, who will be moving from Thailand. He will be replacing Pankaj Saran, who will be moving northwards to Moscow, in place of Raghavan who superannuates this year.
Afghanistan will also see a change of guard, with Amar Sinha returning to headquarters as Secretary (East). Manpreet Vohra, who is now Joint Secretary (Development Partnership Administration-1), will be taking up the challenging assignment in Kabul.
The biggest jump, but not at all unexpected, is that of Syed Akbaruddin, currently Additional Secretary in-charge of the forthcoming India-Africa Forum Summit. He will be the next Indian envoy to UN in New York, which is basically a secretary-level two-year fixed post. He will be following in the footsteps of Asok Mukherjee. Besides, Indian ambassador to Mexico Sujan Chinoy will be moving to Tokyo, with the ambassador post vacant following the retirement of Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa. Meanwhile, her husband, Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) will be going to Italy as Indian ambassador.
South Block will see a new faces, with Sinha as Secretary (East) and Amarendra Khatua as Secretary (West). Khatua will be taking over from Navtej Sarna, (1980 IFS) who will be Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.