M A I N   N E W S

Shyam Saran to be Foreign Secretary
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 10
The government today announced its decision to appoint Indian Ambassador in Nepal, Mr Shyam Saran, as the next Foreign Secretary and Mr Saran, who spoke to The Tribune from Kathmandu, confirmed that he got the order in the afternoon.

Sources told The Tribune that Mr Saran’s appointment was proposed by External Affairs Minister and cleared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after he saw the files of 11 senior Secretary-level IFS officers whom Mr Saran has superseded.

Mr Saran, when contacted on the phone this evening, said he had got the order “a short while ago”.

During a brief conversation— which Mr Saran insisted was not an “interview”— the Foreign Secretary-designate was asked when he would take charge from the present incumbent Shashank who is retiring on July 31, a Saturday. “Let’s see what the ministry works out,” was his terse reply.

Mr Saran may pitch for a fixed tenure for Foreign Secretary without any motives being attributed to him because his superannuation is due only in September, 2006, which means he will have a little over two years as Foreign Secretary any way.

It is understood that Mr Natwar Singh had gone through personal files of 11 Secretary-level officers in the MEA who are senior to Mr Saran. Mr Saran has the reputation of being the “Mr Clean” of Indian Foreign Service and his personal file reflected it.

Mr Saran has superseded the following officers: Mr Dilip Lahiri (1967 batch), Ambassador in Madrid; Mr P.K. Singh (1967 batch), Brussels; Mr A.K. Bannerjee (1967 batch), Athens; Mr K.S. Jasrotia (1967 batch), Thimpu; Mr R.M. Abhyankar (1968 batch), Secretary in MEA, New Delhi; Mr S.S. Gill (1968 batch), Mexico City; Mr I.V. Chopra (1968 batch), Jamaica; Ms Shymala Cowsik (1969 batch), The Hague; Mr Nirupam Sen (1969 batch), Colombo; Mr P.L. Goyal (1969 batch), Berne; Mr R.S. Rathore (1969 batch), Cairo.

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