Mumbai police commissioner Ahmad Javed is set to become India’s next envoy to Saudi Arabia.
The kingdom has given its consent to accept him as the envoy, a diplomatic requirement before the sending-country makes the announcement, sources said.
The Centre has been on the hunt to identify the right candidate to represent India in Saudi Arabia, the country with the largest Indian passport holders outside India.
But a shortage of senior Muslim officers in the Indian foreign services kept the search on for months to find a replacement for Hamid Ali Rao who retired as the country’s envoy to Saudi Arabia in April 2015.
Rao had taken up the assignment in September 2011.
India traditionally sends Muslim officers as envoys to Saudi, factoring in a large number of Indians attending the Haj pilgrimage every year.
This year, 1.5 lakh Indians had gone to perform the Haj. Javed will be the 20th Indian envoy to Saudi Arabia, the largest source of India’s oil imports.
Julio Ribeiro, a Maharastra cadre IPS officer, was India’s ambassador to Romania from 1989 to 1993.
Javed, a 1980 batch IPS officer, was to retire from service in January 2016.