Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

In firing line: High Commissioner to UK, envoys to Canada and Norway

Ranjan Mathai, Nirmal Verma, A K Browne (From Left to Right) Ranjan Mathai, Nirmal Verma, A K Browne (From Left to Right)
Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Posted: August 7, 2014 2:44 am

After Governors, the NDA government is now looking at replacing envoys appointed by the previous UPA government. The Indian Express has learnt that at least three envoys — all appointed by the UPA government in the last two years — will be replaced in the coming days.

First in the list is the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Ranjan Mathai, who retired as Foreign Secretary in August 2013. He was earlier Deputy High Commissioner in London from 2005 to 2007.

The others in the list are: former Navy Chief Admiral (Retd) Nirmal Verma, who was appointed as the Indian High Commissioner to Canada in October 2012, and former Air Force chief N A K Browne, who was named as the Indian envoy to Norway in April this year — in the middle of the Lok Sabha elections — but is yet to take up the post.

They are all seen as “political appointees” since they were appointed by the UPA regime after their retirement. “They are seen as loyalists of the previous Congress-led regime, who have been re-employed after their retirement,” said a source.

While these three envoys are set to be replaced soon, more changes are likely. Moves are afoot to bring back Indian ambassador to the US S Jaishankar after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit in September, as well as the Indian envoy to Russia P S Raghavan. Both will be suitably accomodated in South Block as they are career diplomats. They are considered to be extremely competent, having served in the MEA and Prime Minister’s Office in the past.

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