Menon supercedes 14 to replace Saran

New Delhi, Aug 31 | Updated: Sep 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
Indias High Commissioner to Pakistan Shiv Shankar Menon, was on Thursday named the new foreign secretary. He will succeed Shyam Saran, who has been appointed special envoy for negotiations on the nuclear deal between India and the US.

Shiv Shankar Menon, presently Indias High Commissioner to Pakistan, will be the next foreign secretary of India. He will take charge from October 1 and Shyam Saran will be the special envoy for the negotiations relating to the Indo-US nuclear agreement, an official statement said.

57-year-old Menon supersedes 14 senior Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers and will have a tenure of about three years starting October one.

Menon had been the High Commissioner in Islamabad at the most crucial juncture when Indo-Pak relations were on an upswing following the initiatives taken by the previous NDA government.

Menon played a crucial role in facilitating a meeting between then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in January 2004 on the margins of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad which led to the initiation of the bilateral peace process between India and Pakistan.

Similarly Saran is credited with cozying up of relations between India and the US, culminating in the July 18, 2005 Civilian Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement.

He will handle it most likely till the end of 2006 by which time it would be through the US Congress. He is expected to get another important assignment thereafter.

His tenure has also seen Indias strong bid and subsequent lobbying for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council and some hard diplomacy on the G-4 initiative. A 1972-batch IFS officer, Menon, who flew back to Islamabad this afternoon after meeting Prime minister Manmohan Singh and others during the past few days, was Indias envoy to China before being posted to Pakistan. He has also served in Japan, Israel, Austria and Sri Lanka.

Menon supersedes Shashi U Tripathi, secretary (West) and Rajiv sikri, secretary (East), both 1970-batch IFS officers. Others senior to him are TCA Rangachari, Atish Sinha, PS Haer, Arun Kumar, Veena Sikri, SS Mukherjee, Navrekha Sharma, Amitabh Tripathi and Parthasarathy Ray, of 1971 batch of IFS.