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External affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup, credited with expanding the ministry’s social media reach and handling sensitive matters with tact, was on Thursday appointed India's high commissioner to Canada.
A 1986-batch Indian foreign service officer, Swarup, whose debut novel Q&A was adapted as Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, helmed office since April 2015, when India increased engagement with the world.
Swarup is at present an additional secretary and ministry said he is expected to take up his new assignment shortly. Gopal Baglay, who is joint secretary in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan division in the ministry, will succeed Swarup.
As a diplomat, Swarup has been posted in countries including Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, Britain, South Africa, and Japan.
Between 2000 and 2003, he penned down Q&A while posted in London.
The novel has been published in 43 languages including Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Taiwanese, Thai, and Hebrew.
He has also written for Time, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Telegraph (UK), The Financial Times (UK) Liberation (France), and others.
Swarup had taken over charge as the MEA Spokesperson from Syed Akbaruddin, who is now India's Permanent Representative at the United Nations.
The post of the Indian High Commissioner in Canada had been lying vacant after retirement of Vishnu Prakash. India has close ties with Canada in a range of key sectors and the country has sizeable number of Indians.
Born in Allahabad in a family of lawyers, he had studied history, psychology and philosophy at Allahabad University.
The MEA's social media outreach had witnessed major expansion during Swarup's tenure.
In December, the ministry had launched a 'Twitter Seva' service with an aim to centralising its grievance redressal mechanism by bringing over 200 social media handles under one platform.
In August, the MEA had launched an app, bringing websites and various social media handles of over 170 Indian missions on a common platform to further its public outreach.