MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi to be India’s envoy to the UN in Geneva

Oct 04, 2023 12:46 AM IST

In Geneva, Arindam Bagchi, a 1995 batch officer of the IFS, will replace Indra Mani Pandey, who is expected to return to the headquarters in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI: External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi is set to take over as India’s new permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations in Geneva, people familiar with the matter said.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi (File Photo)(HT_PRINT)
External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi (File Photo)(HT_PRINT)

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Among the diplomats being considered to replace Bagchi as the foreign ministry’s spokesperson are Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur, joint secretary (G20), and K Nandini Singla, high commissioner to Mauritius, the people said on condition of anonymity.

Bagchi, from the 1995 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), took over as spokesperson in March 2021 and has had an eventful stint that spanned the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and India’s standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

He had been due to take up an ambassadorial posting following his promotion to the rank of additional secretary some time ago but was asked to stay on till the holding of the G20 Summit.

Kakanur was a key part of the team led by India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant that was involved in negotiations to finalise the consensus leaders’ declaration at the G20 Summit last month. He is considered to have the edge in the process to appoint the next spokesperson, the people said.

An officer of the 1998 batch of the IFS, Kakanur is a fluent Mandarin speaker and has done four stints in China. Besides two stints in the embassy in Beijing during 2000-03 and 2009-12, he served at the consulate in Hong Kong during 2003-06, and as consul general in the consulate at Guangzhou during 2013-15.

At the headquarters, Kakanur served as the joint secretary of the economic diplomacy division during 2015-17 and as joint secretary of the Europe West division during 2017-18.

K Nandini Singla, from the 1997 batch of the IFS, has served as the ambassador to Portugal during 2016-20, and as joint secretary (Europe West) during 2015-16. She also did a stint at the permanent mission to the UN in Geneva during 2009-11 and served at the high commission in Bangladesh during 2005-08. If she is appointed the spokesperson, she will be the first woman diplomat to hold the post after Nirupama Rao, who held the position during 2001-02 and went on to become foreigns secretary.

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In Geneva, Bagchi will replace Indra Mani Pandey, who is expected to return to the headquarters in New Delhi, the people said. Bagchi earlier served at India’s permanent mission to the UN in New York, looking after economic and development issues, and as director in the Prime Minister’s Office, handling relations with the UN, the Americas and Russia.

Bagchi has also served as ambassador to Croatia and deputy high commissioner to Sri Lanka.

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