External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, credited with expanding MEA's social media outreach and handling sensitive issues deftly, was appointed India's high commissioner to Canada on Thursday.
A 1986-batch IFS officer, Swarup, whose debut novel Q & A was made into the Oscar-winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire", had helmed the high-profile office since April 2015 when India's external engagement witnessed a major traction.
Swarup is at present an additional secretary and the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said he is expected to take up his new assignment shortly.
Gopal Baglay, who is joint secretary in the Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan division in MEA, will succeed Swarup.
In his diplomatic career, Swarup has been posted in various countries including Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, Britain, South Africa and Japan. He had penned his first novel, Q & A when he was posted in London between 2000 and 2003.
The novel has been published in 43 languages including Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Taiwanese, Thai and Hebrew.
He has also written for TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Telegraph (UK), The Financial Times (UK) and Liberation (France), among others.
Swarup had taken over charge as the MEA spokesperson from Syed Akbaruddin, who is now India's permanent representative at the United Nations.
The post of the Indian high commissioner in Canada had been lying vacant after retirement of Vishnu Prakash.
India has close ties with Canada in a range of key sectors and the country has sizeable number of Indians.
Born in Allahabad in a family of lawyers, Swarup had studied history, psychology and philosophy at Allahabad University.
The MEA's social media outreach had witnessed major expansion during Swarup's tenure. In December, the ministry had launched a 'Twitter Seva' service with an aim to centralising its grievance redressal mechanism by bringing over 200 social media handles under one platform.
In August, the MEA had launched an app, bringing websites and various social media handles of over 170 Indian missions on a common platform to further its public outreach.