Next Foreign Secretary Rao ready for challenges of the job

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Wuhan (China), July 2(ANI): India's Ambassador to China and the new Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao, said that she is looking forward to her new assignment with optimism and is ready for the challenges that comes with job.

"I will look forward to the new assignment with great deal of optimism and sense of anticipation. I'm fully aware that there will be challenges to be met, I'll look forward to it," Rao told ANI.

She came to receive Foreign Minister SM Krishna who is on a visit to Japan and stopped at Wuhan in China en route to Tokyo.

Rao succeeds Shivshankar Menon who will retire on Wednesday (July 31) having completing his eventful three-year stint as the Foreign Secretary.

Fifty-eight-year-old Nirupama Rao, a 1973-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, who has served in a number of key positions, will be the second woman Foreign Secretary of India after Chokila Iyer.

She will take over the charge as the Indian Foreign Secretary at a time when India-Pakistan are going through tough times in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks.

Prior to her posting in Beijing as Ambassador in October 2006, Rao served as Indian envoy to Sri Lanka and been country"s first woman spokesperson.

Previously, Rao had served in the Indian Missions in Washington and Moscow besides having a stint in the Ministry of External Affairs as Joint Secretary (East Asia).

Nirupama was the first woman spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.

A postgraduate in English literature, Nirupama topped the IFS in 1973 and joined the service at the age of 21. Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, the Lok Sabha's first woman Speaker, was from the same IFS batch. (ANI)

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