Vijay Gokhale to be next foreign secy

Vijay Gokhale to be next foreign secy

Vijay Gokhale, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 1981 batch, will take over as the new foreign secretary once S Jaishankar completes his tenure towards the end of this month.

Gokhale, who was India's envoy to China till September last year, is currently posted at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs as secretary (Economic Relations). The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved his appointment, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pension stated in a note issued on Monday.

He will succeed Jaishankar, who will complete his tenure on January 28.

Gokhale played a key role in the India-China negotiations to resolve the face-off between Indian Army and Chinese People's Liberation Army at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan between June 18 and August 28 last year. It was his last major task in Beijing before returning to New Delhi as secretary (Economic Relations) at the MEA headquarters.

His previous diplomatic assignments included postings in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing and New York. He also served as deputy secretary (Finance), director (China & East Asia) and joint secretary (East Asia) at the MEA headquarters.

He was India's High Commissioner to Malaysia from January 2010 to October 2013 before being appointed as envoy to Germany. He was appointed as India's envoy to China in September 2015.

Jaishankar, who joined the IFS on 1977, was appointed foreign secretary in January 2015 - just before he was to retire from service. The government shunted out Sujatha Singh from the office of the foreign secretary to appoint Jaishankar, who was then India's ambassador to United States, as her successor. Sujatha Singh, who joined the IFS a year before Jaishankar did so, was appointed as foreign secretary in August 2013 by the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government. Her two-year tenure was cut short by the Modi government to pave way for Jaishankar. Though he was initially appointed for a tenure till January 2017, the government early last year amended a 95-year-old rule to give him extension for another year.

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