En­voy Bam­bawale set for shift from Pak to China

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­group.com

Am­bas­sador to Poland Ajay Bis­aria will be the next high com­mis­sioner to Pak­istan, top South Block sources said

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 the next high com­mis­sioner to Pak­istan, top South Block sources told TOI Satur­day night.

The reshuf­fle was ne­ces­si­tated by the ap­point­ment of In­dia’s am­bas­sador to China Vi­jay Gokhale as sec­re­tary (eco­nomic re­la­tions) in the min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs (MEA). Gokhale played the lead role in de­fus­ing the Dok­lam cri­sis with Bei­jing, and is now tipped to be the next for­eign sec­re­tary in case the govern­ment doesn’t give another ex­ten­sion to S Jais­hankar in Jan­uary.

Bam­bawale and Bis­aria are widely ac­knowl­edged as the MEA’s best and both have han­dled sev­eral sen­si­tive post­ings. A 1984-batch IFS of­fi­cer, Bam­bawale has served as joint sec­re­tary of the East Asia di­vi­sion, where he han­dled both China and Ja­pan. He was one of the longest­serv­ing 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 un­der- stand­ing 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 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 flu­ent in Rus­sian, Bis­aria is also con­sid­ered one of the MEA’s most pre­sentable faces. He served as pri­vate sec­re­tary and aide to then PM A B Va­j­payee from 1999 to 2004.

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