NEW DELHI (TIP): Adhering to the seniority principle, the government on July 3 named Indian Ambassador to Germany Sujatha Singh as the next Foreign Secretary to succeed Ranjan Mathai on his retirement on July 31. An IFS officer of the 1976 batch, Sujatha will be the third woman to navigate India’s foreign policy as the country’s top diplomat. Earlier, Chokila Iyer and Nirupama Rao have held the coveted post. Sujatha, who was due to retire in July next year, will now have a two-year term from August 1. Though she has not done any diplomatic posting in India’s neighbourhood, clearly an added qualification for any Foreign Secretary, she was Undersecretary in the External Affairs Ministry looking after Nepal in early 80s. Apart from Sujatha, there were four contenders for the Foreign Secretary’s post. They were S Jaishankar, India’s Ambassador to China, Jaimini Bhagwati, Indian High Commissioner to Britain, Sudhir Vyas, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, and Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the ministry.