Pak envoy heads to China, Polish envoy to go to Pak
New Delhi: 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 India’s envoy to Pakistan, top South Block sources told TOI Saturday night. The reshuffle was necessitated bythe appointment of India’s ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale as secretary (economic relations) in the 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 the 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.
A 1987 batch IFS officer, Bisaria has also had an impeccable career as a diplomat and is considered an expert on Russia and central Asia. Addressing Russia’s nascent strategic proximity to Pakistan will no doubt be an important focus area for him. A savvy diplomat, Bisaria is also considered one of MEA’s most presentable faces.
In one of his most significant career assignments, Bisaria served as private secretary and aide to then PM A B Vajpayee from 1999 to 2004 and in that capacity handled a range of defence, economic and foreign policy issues.