Friday, November 25, 2011

Is new Pakistan envoy to US Sherry Rehman a competition to India's Nirupama Rao?

Sherry Rehman: A competition to Nirupama Rao?
THEN Indian foreign secretary and 1973 batch IFS Nirupama Rao’s appointment as India’s ambassador to America a few months ago was a calibrated move, and not a routine post-retirement placement of an efficient and loyal officer as some sidetracked IFS babus would like to believe. The South Block wanted someone highly articulate, and the one who is close to Prime Minister and also in sync with New Delhi’s US agenda.
Pakistani top establishment may or may not have similar reasons while appointing Sherry Rehman as its new envoy to Washington after Husain Haqqani’s resignation over the ‘Memogate’ controversy, but on several counts, Rehman is likely to be a tough competitor to Nirupama Rao in high-voltage diplomatic networking in US. Both are well educated women executives, and more significantly both are outstanding while articulating their views. Rao, a career diplomat, first came into prominence when she was the spokeswoman of India’s foreign office. She knows what to say, and also what not to say. Rehman, a close aide of slain ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, is a prominent media personality and former editor of a reputed magazine. Rehman resigned as Pakistan’s information minister in March 2009, reportedly because of her differences with President Asif Ali Zardari on imposing restrictions on the media.
Many hardliners in Pakistan are however obsessed with Rehman’s personal life and controversies, and some even dismiss her brightness as she is a woman.

India sponsored 1846 officers to study abroad in 10 years
As many as1846 Indian officers were sent for higher education abroad under the Domestic Funding of Foreign Training (DFFT) Scheme beginning 2000. Out of this selected lot, 938 belong to All India Services like IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service, and 359 are from other Group ‘A’ Services, according to minister of state in Primn Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy who gave a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. There were 215 Central Secretariat Service officers among the selected lot.
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