Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed has been appointed the country’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, which has a 2.8 million-strong Indian community. The external affairs ministry said Javed is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
Media reports said Saudi Arabia gave its consent to accept him as the envoy, a diplomatic requirement before the sending-country makes the announcement.
The Hindustan Times newspaper reported that the Centre had been on the hunt to identify the right candidate to represent India in Saudi Arabia, the country with the largest Indian passport holders outside India. But a shortage of senior Muslim officers in the Indian Foreign Service kept the search on for months to find a replacement for Hamid Ali Rao who retired as the country's envoy to Saudi Arabia in April 2015.
Rao had taken up the assignment in September 2011.
Relations between India and Saudi Arabia witnessed some strain after a Saudi diplomat was charged with confinement and rape of two Nepalese women in September. The diplomat later left India.
From a trading point of view, Saudi Arabia is a crucial country for India.
The import of crude oil by India forms a major component of bilateral trade with the Gulf nation which is India's largest supplier of crude oil.
The Indian community in Saudi Arabia is the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom.
IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, who was Mumbai Police Commissioner from 1982 to 1985, also served as Indian Ambassador to Romania