New Delhi: Sweeping changes are afoot in MEA, with the government moving new faces to top diplomatic posts. Gautam Bambawale , India's ambassador to Bhutan, will take over from TCA Raghavan as High Commissioner to Pakistan when the latter retires in December. This is a big appointment, because Bambawale, an expert on China, will be taking over one of India's most sensitive diplomatic positions.

Navtej Sarna, presently secretary (west) in MEA will be India's next high commissioner to London. Sarna, who was ambassador to Israel, will have just the right mix of political, cultural and diaspora skills for the job.

Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east), will go to Rome, which has become more prominent given the level of Indian economic interests. The two senior-most officials in headquarters will be replaced by Amar Sinha and Amarendra Khatua, who will be the next Secretaries East and West. Sinha has been India's ambassador to Afghanistan, overseeing the transition from the Karzai to Ghani government. Khatua is currently India's ambassador to Argentina.

The biggest jump has been reserved for Syed Akbaruddin, who will take over as India's permanent representative in the UN in New York. Akbar, as he is known, was a familiar face as MEA's spokesperson, and it's known that PM Modi regards him highly.

Akbaruddin will replace Asoke Mukerji who will be retiring. The post is generally a secretary-level one, so Akbaruddin's elevation is the first sign that merit is again one of the top considerations for posts. Before he leaves though, Akbaruddin will have to deliver the big ticket India-Africa summit in October.