India’s high commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale has been appointed the ambassador to China and India’s ambassador to Poland Ajay Bisaria will be the next high commissioner to Pakistan, top South Block sources told TOI Saturday night.
The reshuffle was necessitated by appointment of India’s ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale as Secretary (Economic Relations) in MEA. Gokhale played the lead role in defusing the Doklam crisis with Beijing and is now being tipped as India’s next foreign secretary in case government doesn’t give another extension to S Jaishankar in January.
Bambawale and Bisaria are widely acknowledged as MEA’s best and both have in the past handled several sensitive postings. A 1984 batch IFS officer, Bambawale has served as joint secretary of East Asia division where he handled both China and Japan. He, in fact, was one of the longest serving joint secretaries there with his tenure lasting from 2009 to 2014.
There are few who know China better than him as he has also served as India’s DCM in Beijing. His understanding of the region is also expected to help India deal with the North Korea situation more effectively. Bambawale has also served as india’s ambassador to Bhutan and is well versed with the situation at Bhutan’s Doklam which is claimed by China. As a young IFS officer, Bambawale opted to learn mandarin Chinese and also served in Beijing and Hong Kong from 1985 to 1991.