Home / News / India /  Who is India's next foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra? All you need to know

The Indian government on Monday appointed senior Indian Foreign Service officer Vinay Mohan Kwatra as the new foreign secretary. Kwatra, a 1988-batch IFS officer, is currently serving as Ambassador in Kathmandu since January 2020. He will replace incumbent Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, a 1984-batch IFS officer.

According to the Ministry of Personnel order issued on Monday, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Kwatra to the post of Foreign Secretary upon the superannuation of Harsh Vardhan Shringla on April 30.

Here are the 10 things to know about India's next foreign secretary:

1. Vinay Mohan Kwatra was born in 1965 and he holds a degree of Master in Science (M.Sc.) He has previously served at the Ministry of External Affairs, and Prime Minister's Office as Joint Secretary.

2. Known to be having extensive expertise in dealing with India's neighbourhood as well as the US, China and Europe, the 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer pipped nearly half-a-dozen others in the race for the coveted post including Indian High Commissioner to UK Gaitri Issar Kumar (1986-batch IFS) and Ruchira Kamboj (1987 batch IFS), according to news agency PTI report.

3. India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who is a batchmate of Kwatra, was also seen as a contender for the post.

4. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved his appointment, an order by the personnel ministry said.

5. It has been reported that there is a possibility that Shringla may get an assignment after his retirement and he could be considered for the post of coordinator for the G-20 summit which India is hosting in late 2023.

6. Kwatra will take charge as the foreign secretary at a time India is grappling with various geopolitical developments including the Ukraine conflict, the severe economic crisis in Sri Lanka and situation in Afghanistan and developments in the Indo-Pacific.

7. While announcing the appointment of Kwatra, the ministry said he will take charge as the foreign secretary on April 30.

8. Before his diplomatic posting to Nepal in 2020, he served as the Ambassador of India to France from August 2017 to February 2020. Kwatra's stint in Nepal saw the ties between the two countries going back on track after they came under severe strain following the boundary dispute.

9. Kwatra is career diplomat with over 32 years of experience and has also held the position of a Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for two years between October 2015 to August 2017.

10. He headed the policy planning & research division of the Ministry of External Affairs between July 2013 and October 2015 and later served as the head of the Americas Division in the Foreign Ministry where he dealt with India's relations with the United States and Canada.

(With inputs from agencies)

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