Vikas Swarup, currently serving as the spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs, was today appointed as the next High Commissioner of lndia to Canada.
He will replace acting High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu and is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
His new assignment comes along with his promotion to the rank of Additional Secretary. The spokesperson’s post is for the rank of Joint Secretary.
Gopal Baglay, who is Joint Secretary in the Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan division in MEA, will succeed Swarup.
Swarup took up the job of MEA spokesperson in April 2015 after the then spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin was promoted. Akbaruddin is now India's Permanent Representative at the United Nations.
Before assuming charge as spokesperson, Swarup held charge as Joint Secretary (United Nations- Political) in the MEA.
A 1986-batch IFS officer, Swarup, whose debut novel "Q&A" was made into the Oscar-winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire", had helmed the high-profile office since April 2015 when India's external engagement witnessed a major traction.
The MEA's social media outreach had witnessed majorexpansion during Swarup's tenure. In December, the ministry had launched a 'Twitter Seva' service with an aim to centralising its grievance redressal mechanism by bringing over 200 social media handles under one platform.
In August, the MEA had launched an app, bringing websites and various social media handles of over 170 Indian missions on a common platform to further its public outreach.
Swarup is an alumnus of Allahabad University where he studied History, Psychology, and Philosophy.
In his diplomatic career, Swarup has been posted in various countries including Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, Britain, South Africa and Japan.
He had penned his first novel, Q&A when he was posted in London between 2000 and 2003.
The novel has been published in 43 languages including Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Taiwanese, Thai and Hebrew.
He has also written for TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Telegraph (UK), The Financial Times (UK) and Liberation (France), among others.
The post of the Indian High Commissioner in Canada had been lying vacant after retirement of Vishnu Prakash and Arun Kumar Sahu had taken charge as acting High Commissioner. India has close ties with Canada in a range of key sectors and the country has sizeable number of Indians.