Sharat Sabharwal, the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, has been given a six-month extension.
A 1975-batch IFS officer, Sabharwal's extension has been approved by the Prime Minister's Office. The High Commissioner was to retire this month end.
The extension comes after a "fruitful" visit of external affairs minister S M Krishna to Pakistan where he held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar and inked Indo-Pak liberalised visa pact with interior minister Rehman Malik.
The extension, which has been given till the elections in March in that country, is also being viewed as a signal of a possible visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to that country.
Born in 1952, Sabharwal holds a Post Graduate Degree in Political Science.
The positions held by him in the more recent years have been Deputy High Commissioner of India in Pakistan (1995-99 when incursion in Kargil took place), Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the UN in Geneva (1999-2002), and Ambassador of India in Uzbekistan (2002 -2005).