2:23 am - Thursday December 14, 2017

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade likely to head MEA’s overseas projects department

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Khobragade on immigration watch list, faces arrest in U.S.
Khobragade on immigration watch list, faces arrest in U.S.

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade is all set to join the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday as director of the Development Partnership Administration (DPA), an agency formed a year ago to handle India’s projects overseas, The Indian Express has learnt.

Her experience as deputy secretary (finance) in the MEA is said to have influenced the decision. Foreign secretary Sujatha Singh conveyed the decision to her. Devyani returned to India about 10 days ago after being at the centre of an India-US diplomatic spat over allegations about low wages of her domestic help, Sangeeta Richard, and visa fraud.

She was called back to Delhi. The 1999-batch Indian Foreign Service officer was deputy consul general in New York until she was charged by US authorities and will join the new desk on India’s development projects.

In the DPA, she will look after India’s projects implemented through Lines of Credit, Grants and Grant assistance. India has an elaborate project portfolio in the neighbourhood, including Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, as well Africa and Latin America.

As India increased its strategic footprint, DPA was formed last year for effective execution of projects with professionals from diverse backgrounds. It is headed by Sujata Mehta, one of India’s foremost diplomats and former Indian representative to UN Conference on Disarmament, Geneva. Mehta is Special Secretary in the MEA. Khobragade has served in Pakistan, Italy, Germany and New York and knows English, Hindi, Marathi and German.

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