Varma quits as Bhutan envoy, joining JD-U

Outgoing Indian envoy to Bhutan Verma

Diplomat-author Pavan K Varma has resigned as India’s ambassador to Bhutan and has taken the plunge into politics. He is planning to join the Janata Dal-United, saying he wants to contribute to “clean politics and good governance” in the country.

Outgoing Indian envoy to Bhutan Verma

Varma, a former chief of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and a former spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, is joining the JD-U, said sources close to him. He has had a meeting with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who has welcomed his decision, the sources said.

Varma, a 1976 batch IFS officer, has taken voluntary retirement and demits office on Dec 31, 2012, reports online edition of the Hindustan Times (HT).

“I believe that clean politics and good governance are the need of the hour. And if I can contribute in some measure to it, it will help,” Varma said when asked abut his decision to join politics.

Varma has also carved a niche for himself as an author of several well-acclaimed books, including Ghalib and The Great Indian Middle Class.

His new book, entitled Chanakya’s New Manifesto: To Resolve The Crisis Within India, will be published in January, 2013 and is expected to encapsulate his vision of people and development-oriented politics.

Varma’s resignation sets in process a minor shuffle which has been long overdue, with lobbying intensifying for key diplomatic posts.

External affairs minister Salman Khurshid is expected to decide on the new envoy to Bhutan amid China’s increasing foray into the idyllic Himalayan state, better known for measuring national wealth in terms of gross national happiness.

Khurshid will also have to decide on a slew of key diplomatic positions, including the envoys to Permanent Mission of India to UN in New York, France and Myanmar as the incumbents are set to retire early next year.