Envoy Bambawale set for shift from Pak to China
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.