The Asian Age - - Oped -

The nam­ing of Vi­jay Gokhale as for­eign sec­re­tary is be­ing viewed as a sign that the gov­ern­ment is fo­cus­ing in­tensely on its ap­proach to China, fol­low­ing the Dok­lam episode, which raised ten­sions be­tween the two na­tions. A 1981- batch IFS of­fi­cer and sec­re­tary ( eco­nomic re­la­tions in the min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs, Mr Gokhale suc­ceeds Dr S. Jais­hankar, who is com­plet­ing his ten­ure this month- end. Whis­pers in Delhi sug­gest that Mr Jais­hankar him­self may well segue into some use­ful but new role, pretty soon.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, Mr Gokhale was In­dian am­bas­sador to Bei­jing dur­ing the bor­der cri­sis and played a ma­jor role in in­ten­sive talks with Chi­nese diplo­mats. Ap­par­ently, his views on China are in con­ver­gence with Jais­hankar’s, who too had an ear­lier stint as en­joy to China. Sources say that Mr Gokhale is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a new gen­er­a­tion of China ex­perts try­ing to make the point that old- style meth­ods of deal­ing with Bei­jing need a relook.

Sources say that Mr Gokhale’s ap­point­ment firmly en­sconces a new out­look on China within the min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs, one which marks a break­away from the old think­ing. How ef­fec­tive the new think­ing will be, will be known in the months ahead as In­dia ne­go­ti­ates with its ag­gres­sive neigh­bour.

Love them, hate them ig­nore them at na­tional peril, is the babu guar­an­tee and Dilip’s be­lief. Share sig­nif­i­cant babu es­capades dilipcherian@hot­

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