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By the Way

South Block’s strange shuffles

img_nov15_33No good tidings from South Block, which houses the External Affairs Ministry. Even Secretary-level officers are unhappy with the way senior diplomats are being transferred. The basic complaint is that there is a complete mismatch of competence and postings. The Minister and one of the seniormost officials are at loggerheads over these crucial decisions. Junior-level officials are being posted as UN representatives, which is a Secretary-level post. Anil Wadhwa, who was Secretary East till now and considered a competent diplomat, has been sent to Rome, which is a B category posting whereas he deserved an A category country. Sujan R Chinoy has been transferred from Mexico to China. Vikram Duraiswamy has been posted to South Korea, which is strategically considered an important post. Gautam Bambawale, currently India’s ambassador to Bhutan, has been appointed High Commissioner to Pakistan. But Bambawale is an expert on China and East Asia. And Navtej Sarna, an efficient diplomat, managed to wriggle out of the clutches of his boss and secured the posting of High Commissioner to the UK. This was possible only because of his proximity to Sushma Swaraj. It is learnt she took personal interest in Sarna’s appointment. Meanwhile, another grouse against one of the top officials of the Ministry relates to the creation of a north-south India divide which has never occurred before in the Ministry.

VOL. 9, ISSUE 8 | NOV, 2015

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