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Ajay Bisaria is India's New High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gautam Bambawale Heads to Beijing

Gautam Bambawale, a 1984 batch officer who is fluent in Mandarin, was earlier the Joint Secretary in-charge of East Asia the desk.

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Updated:September 17, 2017, 12:14 PM IST
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Ajay Bisaria is India's New High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gautam Bambawale Heads to Beijing
India's ambassador to Poland, Ajay Bisariya, has been moved to Islamabad. (Photo sourced from Twitter)
New Delhi: India’s ambassador to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale will now head the Indian mission in China, while envoy to Poland Ajay Bisaria will replace him in Islamabad.

The re-jig was effected in the wake of Vijay Gokhale, the then ambassador to China, being appointed as the Secretary of Economic Relations in the External Affairs Ministry.

Gautam Bambawale, a 1984 batch officer who is fluent in Mandarin, was earlier the Joint Secretary in-charge of East Asia the desk.

He is said to have developed a close working relationship with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar who is set to retire next year. Their association dates back to when the latter was India’s ambassador in Beijing and Bambawale was the joint secretary in the East Asia desk. Many crises, including the kidnapping of Indian traders in Yiwu, China and the Dersingham standoff in 2013, are said to have been resolved with keen coordination between the two men.

With his move to Beijing, Bambawale joins a short list of envoys who have served both in China and Pakistan. This puts him in a unique position where two or three years from now he gets to be in contention to be the Foreign Secretary.

The only other foreign services officer in recent times who has served in China and Pakistan — India’s toughest diplomatic assignments — is Shiv Shankar Menon who went on to become Foreign Secretary and later the National Security Advisor.

For now, in contention for the Foreign Secretary’s post is Vijay Gokhale. If the government does not give Jaishankar another extension, Gokhale will most likely succeed him as the new Foreign Secretary after January.
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