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Former PMO official Vinay Kwatra to be next Foreign Secretary

The government has appointed Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra as the next Foreign Secretary, to take over later this month. Mr. Kwatra’s appointment was announced just after a visit by Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba who held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. He is set to take over the position on April 30, the day present Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla retires, the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet said.

A 1988-batch officer, Mr. Kwatra has earlier served as Ambassador to France (2017-2020), Deputy Chief of Mission in Beijing and was Minister (Commerce) at the Embassy in Washington, DC. He has worked at the MEA headquarters on the policy planning desk, Joint Secretary (Americas) and represented India at the SAARC Secretariat in Nepal as head of the Trade Bureau, according to details available on the Embassy in Kathmandu’s website.

The government’s decision means Mr. Kwatra will supercedes several officers in the 1986-87 batches including High Commissioner to U.K. Gaitri Issar Kumar, Ambassador to Bhutan Ruchira Khamboj, High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria, HC to South Africa Jaideep Sarkar, Ambassador to Switzerland Sanjay Bhattacharya and HC to Malta Sangeeta Bahadur.

South Block insiders credit Mr. Kwatra’s elevation not just to his tenure in Kathmandu, where he was able to steer the bilateral relationship during some rocky times, but also to his previous roles as Ambassador to France, and prior to that, as the Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office who consistently had PM Modi’s ear.


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