KATHMANDU : Following its decision to appoint Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi as the Chief Secretary, the government has begun the search for a joint secretary whom it can promote to fill the vacant post of Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Three senior Joint Secretaries at the Foreign Ministry are vying for the Foreign Secretary’s post. Bharat Raj Paudyal, a joint secretary, is the leading candidate to succeed Bairagi on the basis of seniority. He is currently also the spokesperson for the ministry. He has already served as the ambassador of Nepal to Pakistan.
Paudyal has been entrusted the responsibility of acting Foreign Secretary based on seniority. Other Joint Secretaries who are also the probable candidates to lead the bureaucracy at the Foreign Ministry are Sewa Lamsal and Amrit Bahadur Rai. If the government decides to tap this opportunity to appoint a woman as the Foreign Secretary, Lamsal could bag the post, according to a source. There are also chances of Rai being promoted to Foreign Secretary as he is considered to be close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
However, the decision to entrust the responsibility of acting Secretary to Paudyal also indicates PM Oli’s change of mind on elevating him to the full-fledged role. Earlier, Prime Minister Oli was reportedly not positive about making Paudyal the Foreign Secretary.
Lamsal has already returned to Nepal after completing her tenure as the ambassador to Pakistan, while Rai is working as the ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in New York.
Due to his close relationship to Prime Minister Oli, Rai was sent to New York to head the Permanent Mission to the UN from South Africa where he was serving as the ambassador. The source, however, claimed that Paudyal is most likely to bag the Foreign Secretary post on Monday as he is the senior-most officer in the ministry.