Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appointed seasoned diplomat and convener of the National Security Advisory Board Satinder K Lambah as a special representative for Pakistan, while Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran will now also act as special representative for China, say reports.
Lambah, who retired from the foreign service in 2001, has served as high commissioner of India to Pakistan (1992-95); ambassador to Germany (1995-98); and ambassador to the Russian Federation (1998-2001). He was also a special representative to Afghanistan from November 2001 to July 2002.
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Saran, who belongs to the 1970 batch of the Indian Foreign Service, has among other postings served as second and first secretary at the Indian embassy in Beijing from 1974 to 1977, and then as charge de affaires from 1983 to 1986. He is fluent in Chinese and French, apart from Hindi and English.
While both Lambah and the Ministry of External Affairs declined comment, sources in the MEA said the two names were "under active consideration."
Former National Security Advisor J N Dixit had been negotiating with both Pakistan and China until his sudden death earlier this month.
If confirmed, the move indicates a shift towards the British system, where the national security adviser does not indulge in diplomatic parleys.