Vijay Joshi, a veteran foreign correspondent and news leader for The Associated Press who has spent three decades covering Asia and the Middle East, has been named the cooperative's director of news for Southeast Asia.

Joshi, 53, currently the assistant Asia-Pacific editor, will continue to be based in Bangkok. From there he will oversee day-to-day operations of more than three dozen AP journalists in 12 countries in the region, which contains nations from Myanmar to Papua New Guinea.

Ted Anthony, the AP's director of Asia-Pacific news, announced Joshi's new role on Friday.

"Vijay is that rare combination of a true area expert and a genuinely nimble mind," Anthony said. "As we integrate Asia's operations to provide a multiformat news experience for our customers, I can't imagine a better leader to help a talented staff tell stories that make a difference and figure out how to deliver our journalism in exciting and unexpected new ways."

The position of Southeast Asia news director was created as part of the AP's plan to divide Asia-Pacific into key sub-regions, each managed by a leader overseeing all media formats - video, text and photos. This is aimed at ensuring that customers receive an integrated multiformat news report from the AP.

"The importance of Southeast Asia in the region's geopolitics and economics cannot be overstated," Joshi said. "The AP has always listened to its customers, and what we are hearing is that they want stories that can be presented as a complete package - text complemented by visual elements or the other way around. My aim will be to provide them that."

Joshi joined AP in 1989 as a correspondent in New Delhi, where he covered politics, insurgencies, wars, tragedies and sports in South Asia and Afghanistan.

He was a correspondent in Cairo and did several assignments in the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran. He was also news editor in Singapore and Bangkok before becoming chief of bureau for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, based in Kuala Lumpur, in 2004. He held that position for six years before moving to Bangkok as the assistant Asia-Pacific editor in 2011.

A journalism graduate from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, Joshi also has a master of science degree in marine geology from Andhra University in Waltair, India, and a bachelor's degree in geology from Osmania.

A native of India, Joshi began his journalism career with the Indian Express newspaper in 1985. He also worked for India's biggest news agency, Press Trust of India, before joining AP.