Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has chosen Sujatha Singh,the Indian Ambassador to Germany,as the next Foreign Secretary,in keeping with the principle of seniority. In the weeks leading to the announcement,there was intense debate on whether the PM will depart from the seniority principle.
Sujatha Singh,a 1976-batch IFS officer who was the senior-most in the list,has managed to edge out Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar,who was widely known to be the PMs first choice for the post of the countrys top diplomat although he is a batch junior. Other contenders included two MEA secretaries,Sudhir Vyas and Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty.
Sujatha Singh will take charge on August 1,and will be the third woman to occupy the position.
She is daughter of former Governor of UP,West Bengal and Sikkim T V Rajeswar,who was also the director of IB under Indira Gandhi. She was posted in Australia during the turbulent phase of violent attacks on Indian students in 2009-10,and is credited for tiding over the crisis.
In April,she organised a substantive visit by the PM to Germany. She has served in Italy,Thailand and France,and has been on the Nepal desk as an Under secretary in the early 1980s. She also was Joint Secretary in charge of West Europe in 2004-2007.
She was due to retire in July 2014,and will now complete her term in July 2015.