Rahul Chhabra to lead India’s Africa diplomacy

Senior diplomat Rahul Chhabra has been appointed as Secretary (Economic Relations) in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, a key position that puts him in charge of the country’s relations with Africa and the Gulf region. Mr. Chhabra, a 1987-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently the High Commissioner of India to Kenya.A diplomatic stint in East Africa’s economic powerhouse will be useful to Mr Chhabra in his new position as he will take charge as Secretary (ER) months before the fourth edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit.  The IAFS IV is expected to take place by the end of the year, but in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the summit is likely to be postponed to next year.

Mr Chhabra succeeds T. S. Tirumurti, who has been appointed as the next permanent representative of India to the United Nations in New York. Mr Chhabra took charge as High Commissioner of India to Kenya on November 13, 2018. Before this posting, he was Ambassador of India to Hungary and Bosnia & Herzegovina from August 2015 to October 2018. He previously also worked as Joint Secretary (Central Europe) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr Chhabra had conceived and organized the first two editions of the India Central Europe Business Forum, which has now become a regular feature in the Indian business calendar. During this assignment, he was instrumental in focusing India’s foreign policy towards the Arctic and the V-4 member countries: The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.Mr Chhabra studied Economics at the prestigious St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and obtained a graduate degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta, where he was placed on the Roll of Honour.

While serving in New Delhi, he worked to promote foreign investment flows into India, having been part of India’s delegation to the World Economic Forum at Davos. Later, he served as Director for External Publicity at the Ministry of External Affairs and Director in the Foreign Secretary’s Office, where he was part of the Indian delegation that negotiated the historic Indo-US Nuclear Agreement.During his stints abroad, Mr Chhabra also served in the United States, China, France, Belgium, Senegal, the Philippines, and Hungary. In Beijing, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission during an extremely sensitive phase of the Indo-China relationship.


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