Seasoned diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale, who played a key role in resolving the Doklam standoff with China, took charge as the next foreign secretary this morning. Gokhale is succeeding S Jaishankar, who had a 3-year long stint from January 2015 to January 2018.
A 1981-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Gokhale’s previous posting was as the secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Gokhale, considered an expert on China, had played a key role in negotiations to resolve the 73-day-long Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese armies last year. He was India’s Ambassador to China from January 20, 2016 to October 21, 2017, before moving back to the MEA headquarters.
Gokhale will have a two-year tenure as the foreign secretary. He has also served as India’s top envoy to Germany between October 2013 and January 2016. He has worked in Indian missions in Hong Kong, Hanoi and in New York.
He has held the posts of director (China and East Asia) and then joint secretary (East Asia) in the MEA.
Earlier this month, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the appointment of Gokhale to the post of foreign secretary.
Jaishankar was appointed foreign secretary in January 2015, for two years, just a few days before his retirement, replacing Sujata Singh. A 1977-batch IFS officer, Jaishankar was given a one-year extension in January last year.
(With inputs from PTI)