SINGAPORE--Carson Dalton is to leave BT after six years to become Facebook's first communications head in India.

Dalton will relocate to New Delhi from Singapore, where he has spent the past three years leading BT's Asia-Pacific corporate communications function.

At Facebook, he reports to Charlene Chian, the former Microsoft executive who joined Facebook one year ago to lead Asia-Pacific communications in Singapore. Chian confirmed Dalton's appointment.

Dalton's arrival at Facebook India comes shortly after the social networking giant shifted its PR agency brief in the country to 20:20 MSL from Text 100. The company also retains APCO India for public affairs support.

Facebook has singled out India as one of its key growth markets in 2012. It now has 71m monthly active users in the country, increasing by 54 percent in the final quarter of last year.

It is understood that Dalton's role will focus on public relations and public affairs. Facebook found itself mired in controversy last year when a 21-year-old was arrested over a status update, sparking uproar among free speech advocates.

That incident is emblematic of wider free speech issues in the country, which has included a clampdown on internet content, because of national security concerns. The Indian government has previously asked Facebook to prescreen user content, in order to remove "disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content."

Dalton returns to India after leaving the country in 2009. He was named BT India's head of corporate communications in 2007, and also spent one year as a senior press officer in London.

Prior to joining BT, Dalton led corporate comms at Idea Cellular, after working at Genesis Burson-Marsteller.