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India has recommended the name of The Energy and Research Institute (Teri) director-general Ajay Mathur as the next chief of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), said two people aware of the development.

The other candidate for the post of director-general (DG) of ISA, which is viewed as a counter to China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative, has been proposed by Mauritius.

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A committee comprising ministers from Guyana, Fiji, the UK and Niger will examine the candidates and inform the special assembly of the ISA, scheduled to be held on 15 February, their recommendation for the next director-general.

ISA, co-founded by India and France, is the first treaty-based international government organization to be based in India and has emerged as a significant foreign policy tool for the country. As many as 88 countries have signed the ISA framework agreement, while 70 have ratified it. “India’s ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has communicated to ISA about Ajay Mathur being India’s candidate for the post of director-general," said one of the two people mentioned above requesting anonymity.

ISA’s present director-general is Upendra Tripathy, a former secretary in MNRE, whose term at the organization ends in March. Tripathy has been heading ISA after it was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. He is a former Indian Administrative Service officer from the Karnataka cadre. Mathur is a member of the PM’s Council on Climate Change and was earlier the director-general of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Mathur has worked at the World Bank and was president of Suzlon Energy Ltd.

Queries emailed to the spokespersons of ISA and MNRE on Friday afternoon remained unanswered. Mathur also did not respond to Mint’s queries.

“The individual chosen for the post of director-general should be available to commence duties on 15 March 2021," said the announcement about the vacancy for the post. “The director-general is responsible to the ISA Assembly for a term of four years, renewable for one further term," the announcement stated.

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