Vikas Swarup, the author of the book that was turned into the hit film Slumdog Millionaire, will be the new spokesperson of India's foreign ministry after Syed Akbaruddin, the ministry's popular voice on social media, bid adieu to the post.
Swarup, 52, was earlier posted as Joint Secretary (UN-political) at the external affairs ministry in Delhi. Swarup, who has served in Turkey, the US, Britain and South Africa, has written three novels but is best known for "Q&A", which was turned into the smash hit "Slumdog Millionaire" by director Danny Boyle.
He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986 after studying history, psychology, and philosophy at Allahabad University.
Akbaruddin tweeted about his last day in the post of spokesperson on his return from Canada as a member of the official delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a three-nation tour. Akbaruddin, who was appointed spokesperson in December 2011, will be promoted to the rank of additional secretary. He has also been named chief coordinator" for the Indo-Africa Forum Summit.
Using the Twitter handle @MEAIndia that has nearly 313,000 followers, Akbaruddin posted: "Farewell friends. @MEAIndia to be with my colleague Vikas Swarup who, as u can see, is fully in the picture."
In another tweet that featured Akbaruddin with Modi, he wrote: "Last day at work usually provides rare opportunities. In my case, a selfie with an indulgent PM."
Akbaruddin's appointment as spokesperson coincided with a social media push by the external affairs ministry. In recent years, the ministry has used Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to engage with people around the world.