New Delhi: Senior diplomat and former high-profile spokesperson of the external affairs ministry Syed Akbaruddin has been appointed as India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, succeeding Asoke Mukerji. A 1985 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Akbaruddin is currently serving as an additional secretary in the MEA, is credited with bringing a whiff of fresh air into the ministry’s external publicity division during his three-and-half year tenure as the spokesperson. He had also brought an effective mix of social and digital media into the external publicity division.

As India’s permanent representative to the global body in New York, Akbaruddin’s main task would be to push for India’s bid to gain permanent membership of the UN Security Council as well as to strongly advocate its position on key issues. Akbaruddin was chief coordinator of the recently-held India-Africa Summit which was attended by heads of state and government of 41 countries from Africa.

He had served at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Geneva and is considered an “expert" on the West Asia where he had served in various capacities. Vikas Swarup, author of best-selling novel Q&A which formed the basis for Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, replaced Akbaruddin as MEA spokesperson in April.