Jayant Khobragade set to take over as acting head of Indian mission in Islamabad

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New Delhi: Jayant Khobragade, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1995 batch, is expected to soon take over as the acting head of India’s mission in Islamabad, people familiar with developments said on Wednesday.

Khobragade, who served as a counsellor in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad some years ago, has also held assignments in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Spain and was ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic between 2013 and 2017.

He is expected to take up the position in the near future, the people cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

Khobragade has worked in different divisions of the Union ministry of external affairs (MEA), including the disarmament and international security affairs division, and joined the Department of Atomic Energy (DEA) on deputation in 2017.

Last August, Pakistan had asked India to withdraw then high commissioner Ajay Bisaria as part of a slew of retaliatory actions in response to New Delhi’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status.

Pakistan had also decided not to go ahead with the posting of the diplomat, who had been chosen as its next envoy to India.

Since then, the Indian mission in Islamabad and the Pakistani mission in New Delhi have been headed by their charge d’affaires.

In a separate development, JP Singh, who was till recently India’s consul-general in Istanbul, Turkey, is expected to take over the crucial position of joint secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran).

Singh has considerable experience in the region and has served in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he was the deputy chief of mission.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk was until recently headed by Deepak Mittal, who has been named the new Indian ambassador to Qatar.

The desk is playing a crucial role again, following a spurt in tensions with Pakistan and the uncertainty surrounding the Afghan peace process in the aftermath of the deal signed by the United States of America (USA) and the Taliban.

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