THE MINISTRY of External Affairs (MEA) is set to appoint Gopal Baglay, who is currently joint secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran), as the new official spokesperson. He will replace Vikas Swarup, who was Thursday named as India’s High Commissioner to Canada.
Baglay has earlier served as India’s deputy high commissioner to Pakistan. He was also the director in former external affairs minister S M Krishna’s office. Baglay, who had served in Nepal and Russia, is deft at handling the media as he was earlier posted in the External Publicity Division in MEA as a director and was responsible for President’s visits.
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Swarup, whose debut novel Q & A was made into the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, had helmed the high-profile office since April, 2015. Over the last two years, he had managed Modi government’s global outreach through briefings and active presence on the social media. Swarup had earlier served in Turkey, the US, Ethiopia, Britain, South Africa and Japan.
Under Swarup’s leadership, the MEA had launched a ‘Twitter Seva’ service to centralise its grievance redressal mechanism. In August, the MEA had launched an app, bringing websites and various social media handles of over 170 Indian missions on a common platform.