Siddharth Varadarajan

Journalist | Writer | Analyst

Nirupama Rao to be next Foreign Secretary

As spokesperson, Ms. Rao was witness to the sometimes testy relationship between Jaswant Singh, who was External Affairs Minister at the time, and Brajesh Mishra, who, as National Security Adviser, played a major role in foreign policy management in the Vajpayee era.

Returning to Delhi at a time when the MEA is headed by new and relatively inexperienced Ministers, the incoming Foreign Secretary will have to interact with a PMO that is playing an even larger role in strategic and diplomatic affairs than it did a decade ago. And which is effectively entering its sixth year as a smoothly functioning machine….

1 July 2009
The Hindu

Nirupama Rao to be next Foreign Secretary

Siddharth Varadarajan

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday named Nirupama Rao, currently Ambassador to China, as its next Foreign Secretary. She will succeed Shiv Shankar Menon, who retires at the end of July after a tenure that lasted two years and 10 months.

A 1973-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service, Ms. Rao has had extensive experience working the full range of diplomatic assignments that a prospective Foreign Secretary is expected to have under her or his belt: important postings in one or more of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, an ambassadorship in India’s immediate neighbourhood and line responsibilities at the headquarters.

Prior to becoming India’s woman in Beijing, she was High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Her other diplomatic jobs included being Ambassador to Peru, deputy head of the Indian embassy in Moscow, and Minister (Press) at the Indian embassy in Washington, DC. At the headquarters, she ran the East Asia desk for several years but her most high-profile assignment was as spokesperson of the MEA, a job she performed with distinction and flair during a difficult period in the bilateral relationship with Pakistan: the Agra summit of 2001 and the military stand-off of 2001-02.

A published poet, Ms. Rao will be India’s top diplomat till at least December 2010, when she turns 60, the official age of retirement for civil servants.

Though rumours continue to swirl about Mr. Menon’s imminent absorption in the PMO as a special adviser to Manmohan Singh on, inter alia, Pakistan and China, sources close to the Foreign Secretary told The Hindu that he was looking forward to retirement after 37 years of service.

As spokesperson, Ms. Rao was witness to the sometimes testy relationship between Jaswant Singh, who was External Affairs Minister at the time, and Brajesh Mishra, who, as National Security Adviser, played a major role in foreign policy management in the Vajpayee era.

Returning to Delhi at a time when the MEA is headed by new and relatively inexperienced Ministers, the incoming Foreign Secretary will have to interact with a PMO that is playing an even larger role in strategic and diplomatic affairs than it did a decade ago. And which is effectively entering its sixth year as a smoothly functioning machine.

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2 comments on “Nirupama Rao to be next Foreign Secretary

  1. Anonymous
    July 3, 2009

    The Great American Bubble Machine
    Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/28816321/the_great_american_bubble_machine/print

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/02/goldman-sachs-the-great-a_n_225302.html

    What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.

    They achieve this using the same playbook over and over again. The formula is relatively simple: Goldman positions itself in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves as men above greed, just a bunch of really smart guys keeping the wheels greased. They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s — and now they're preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet.

  2. India doctor
    July 1, 2009

    Great Blog. I liked it!

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2009 by in Indian Foreign Policy.

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