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Virendra Kapoor | May 16, 2003
Shiv Shankar Menon will go to Islamabad because some people in the prime minister's office do not want M L Tripathi there.
No doubt Menon, India's man in Beijing, is a brilliant diplomat. But that is not exactly why he was ordered as high commissioner to Pakistan double-quick.
The real reason is, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Principal Secretary Brajesh Mishra and his followers do not want Tripathi in Pakistan -- for purely personal reasons, we are told. And hence the supersonic speed at which they cleared Menon's name.
Many MEA officials say Tripathi, now the high commissioner to Bangladesh, would be excellent in Islamabad. He has served in Pakistan before, as consul general in Karachi in the early 1990s. He has spent 12 years at the MEA's Pakistan desk, and is very keen on the job.
Menon, on the other hand, was not keen on the posting, and has never worked in Pakistan or on the Pak desk.
Young, just 60
The latest in a long list of officers granted extension is Savitri Kunadi, ambassador to Paris.
Due to retire in a couple of weeks, Kunadi will continue for another year.
Quite clearly, the lady has some good friends in New Delhi.
Bad boss Shourie
Minister for Divestment and Information Technology Arun Shourie is not popular with his bureaucrats.
Now to make matters worse, he has gone and introduced a new rule -- no foreign junkets, unless absolutely necessary.
His logic is, being part of the IT ministry why should the bureaucrats not use the Net, videoconferencing and such modern facilities to sort out matters with foreign interlocutors?
Indeed, why should not they?
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh