Already, cabinet secretary, home secretary and defence secretary have two-year tenures, and if the current instance of two-time extension of the cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar is anything to go by, the government can change rules to pave the way for a four-year term for other important secretaries with fixed term tenures.
Rao, who assumed charge as foreign secretary on August 1 last year, will remain in the post till
July 31, 2011. The decision was taken as the government felt the assignment of foreign secretary has “increasingly acquired critical dimensions from national security and strategic perspective and the need to ensure continuity and swiftness in the decision-making process”, a government release said.
An MA in English Literature from Marathwada University and fellow at the Centre for International Affairs in Harvard University specializing Asia-Pacific security, Rao was India’s Ambassador to Peru, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of India, Moscow, joint secretary (external publicity) and official spokesperson of the MEA and Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and then Indian Ambassador to China.
Babusofindia.com has rated Rao as
’s 5th Most Powerful Bureaucrats, 2010. While releasing the BoI list of 5 Most Powerful Indian Bureaucrats in September this year, Team BoI said, “For over one year now, she has been instrumental in motivating her colleagues to act like economic ambassadors of the nation and paint a good image of the country. Her firefighting in GK Pillai’s “ISI remark” episode which had resulted into the collapse of India-Pakistan foreign minister level talks, was the most remarkable during the recent time. She walked across the road to North Block to have a cup of tea with Pillai demonstrating real-diplomacy inside Raisina Hills!” India
(Picture: Rao during PM's recent visit to Tokyo)
Army officials embroiled in illegal sale of arms
A case relating to sale on Non Standard Pattern (NSP) weapons by Army officers and a JCO has come to light. 41 officers, 1 JCO and 4 retired officers were found to have sold the NSP weapons without taking sanction of competent authority. Court of Inquiry held to investigate into the case has identified six arms dealers buying the illegal arms from the army personnel. Suitable remedial measures by way of amendment of SAO 1/S/96 and issue of a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure have been taken by Army Headquarters. This information was given by defence minister AK Antony in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.