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New Delhi, Nov. 11: 
As America grapples with its election mess, India is going full steam ahead in shortlisting names for its next ambassador in Washington.

Foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh appears to be topping the list. Mansingh�s term at South Block ends next year on March 31 � the same day that the present ambassador to the US, Naresh Chandra, completes his extension.

The possibility of Mansingh taking over has gathered ground over the past few weeks.

Indications suggest that former foreign secretary K. Raghunath may replace Ronen Sen in Berlin once India�s embassy to Germany formally shifts there from Bonn early next year.

Sen is likely to be posted to London as India�s high commissioner to Britain.

Though Mansingh now appears to be the favourite for the coveted post in Washington, sceptics in South Block caution that with more than five months left for the ambassador�s seat to fall