Indian Foreign Service officer Syed Akbaruddin (1985 batch) has emerged as the point man of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plan for global outreach. Not only is he entrusted with the task of executing the third edition of the four-day India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) scheduled to be held from October 26 to 29 and bilateral events next day on October 30, he is also the point man to deal with the global body United Nations as India’s representative after the successful conclusion of the IAFS. Apart from MEA HQ and dozens of IFS officers it goes to the credit of Akbaruddin, and the administrative support of the PM, that the meeting will be attended by all the 54 countries of Africa excluding Libya where there is no government and hence the invitation could not be delivered. This is in sharp contrast to 14 and 15 countries of Africa attending the first and second editions of the IAFS meetings.
For Akbaruddin, the assignment of Permanent Representative of India at the UN (usually considered for Secretary rank IFS), will be fulfilment of a long-cherished dream, like any other IFS officer, of serving the country as a full-time ambassador overseas. It was to fulfil this dream that made Akbaruddin politely turn down the Prime Minister’s offer to act as his media adviser immediately after he relinquished the charge of MEA spokesman in April this year.