New Delhi: Ending weeks of speculation, the government on Monday appointed Ranjan Mathai, India's ambassador to France, as the next Foreign Secretary. He will assume office on August 1, 2011 for a two-year term, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said.

Mathai will succeed Nirupama Rao, who is tipped to be India's next Ambassador to the US. Rao will succeed Meera Shankar in Washington, sources said.

Mathai is a 1974 batch Indian Foreign Service officer. The Cabinet Committee on Appointments met on Monday to finalise Mathai's name for Foreign Secretary.

Hardeep Singh Puri, India's permanent representative to the UN and Sharat Sabharwal, India's High Commissioner to Pakistan, were also seen to be claimants for the post of Foreign Secretary.