- Sujata Singh: Topper of the 1976 IFS batch; non-controversial, has strong political connections
- Jaimini Bhagwati: Of the 1976 IFS batch; strong on economic issues; has served with the World Bank
- S. Jaishankar: Of the 1977 IFS batch; impressed many with his effective handling of China affairs
- Sudhir Vyas: Topped the 1977 IFS batch; has experience of S. Asia
The selection of bureaucrats for key positions seldom generates interest beyond the contenders and their family and friends. Not so when the foreign secretary is being chosen. For some years now, this South Block appointment has been watched with enthusiasm by those in the foreign policy establishment as well as others. Ranjan Mathai, the current incumbent, ends his tenure on July 31. Already, speculation, analysis—and some lobbying—has begun, with the aim of ensuring that a favourite gets the top post...