Sujatha Singh assumed charge as India's next foreign secretary on Wednesday.
Singh, an officer of the 1976 batch of the Indian Foreign Service, succeeds Rajan Mathai who superannuated from the service yesterday. Mathai is expected to go to London as India's High Commissioner.
Prior to taking over as the foreign secretary, Singh served as India's envoy to Germany (2012-13) and the country's High Commissioner to Australia (2007-12).
Singh started her overseas assignments as second secretary in the Embassy of India, Bonn (1978-82). Subsequently she was first secretary, High Commission of India, Accra (1985-89), counsellor, Embassy of India, Paris (1989-92), deputy chief of mission and deputy permanent representative to ESCAP at Embassy of India, Bangkok (1997-2000) and consul general, Milan (2000-04).
Singh has served over a third of her career at headquarters. She was under secretary looking after Nepal (1982-85); director, economic co-ordination unit (1992-95), attended the National Defence College at New Delhi (1995) and joint secretary at the Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi (1996-97).
Singh, 59, is the third woman to head the services after Chokila Iyer and Nirupama Rao. She is the daughter of former Intelligence Bureau Chief T. V. Rajeshwar and the wife of former Secretary (East) Sanjay Singh.