The Indian government has cleared the decks to appoint Ashok K Kantha as a new secretary in the ministry of external affairs (MEA), Daily Mail India reported today. Kantha is currently India’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka.
He will be in-charge of East Asia.
His name has been sent for approval to the appointments committee of the Union Cabinet that approves all secretary- level appointments in the government.
Kantha has also served as joint secretary heading the East Asia division in the MEA.
Interestingly, overcoming political rivalry the UPA government cleared Kantha’s name despite several other claimants for the post and jockeying by the aspirants.
Kantha is the son-in-law of former external affairs and finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha. “He was chosen because of his excellent professional skills as a diplomat who has a wide experience in the region,” a source told MAIL TODAY.
Kantha’s choice is good considering that he will be able to handle issues such as defending India’s interests in the South China Sea.
He will also be able to provide a nuanced approach in dealing with China as a former head of the East Asia division in the foreign office.
He is from the 1977 batch of the Indian Foreign Service and has also served as India’s envoy to Malaysia. Kantha will replace Sanjay Singh who will retire in April this year.