New Delhi: Ranjan Mathai, India's former Ambassador to France, took over as India's Foreign Secretary on Monday.

“The Foreign Secretary is as much an institution as an individual. So I will continue this effort,” said Mathai, who succeeds Nirupama Rao, India's next Ambassador to the US. 

On the India-Pakistan front, he said, “My mandate is substantive dialogue on all issues of common concerns.”  Mathai will have a two-year term. 

A 1974 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Mathai has held a string of high-profile diplomatic positions. He was India's ambassador to Israel February 1998 to June 2001, and to Qatar August 2001 to July 2005. 

A veteran diplomat, he was joint secretary dealing with India's relations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Maldives from January 1995 to February 1998.  He has also served in the Indian embassies in Vienna, Colombo, Washington, Tehran and Brussels. 

Mathai, who completed his postgraduate studies in political science at the University of Poona, was India's Deputy High Commissioner to Britain in London from August 2005 to January 2007. 

Rakesh Sood, India's Ambassador to Nepal, will succeed Mathai as New Delhi's envoy in Paris.

(Agencies)