India keeps China in focus, appoints Gokhale as new FS

Gokhale as Jaishankar's successor fits India's plan to handle challenge from its northern neighbour

shankar

Shankar Kumar | January 3, 2018 | New Delhi


#Shyam Saran   #Beijing   #China   #Jaishankar   #Gokhale   #Foreign secretary   #Jawaharlal Nehru  
 Vijay Keshav Gokhale, foreign secretary (Photo: MEA)
Vijay Keshav Gokhale, foreign secretary (Photo: MEA)

 With Vijay Keshav Gokhale being appointed as the next foreign secretary, India has continued with the trend of making mandarin speaking Chinese expert as the head of South Block. 

In 2004, Shyam Saran, the then Indian ambassador to Nepal, was picked as the head of the staff of the ministry of the external affairs because he was a brilliant Chinese specialist who was familiar with China’s world view. He had served in Mauritius, Myanmar and Indonesia. 
 
Similarly, before being appointed as Shyam Saran’s successor on September 1, 2006, Shivshankar Menon was the head of the Indian mission in Beijing. He was also a known Chinese specialist.
 
Nirupama Rao, India’s second woman foreign secretary after Chokila Iyer, was the Chinese specialist who had helmed the country’s diplomatic mission in China from October 2006 to July 2009. In the intervening period from August 1, 2009 to January 15, 2015, South Block was headed by foreign secretaries such as Ranjan Mathai and Sujatha Singh who were neither in India’s mission in Beijing as ambassadors nor did they belong to exclusive club of Chinese specialists. 
 
But again Sujatha Singh’s successor and current foreign secretary S Jaishankar belongs to that Chinese specialist pedigree, who had also had his ambassadorial stint in Beijing.
 
Gokhale, a 1981-batch Indian Foreign Service officer who is currently secretary economic relations in the MEA, will be in South Block’s hot seat from January 28. He was India’s ambassador to China from January 20, 2016 to October 21, 2017. He has the rare distinction of serving in Hong Kong and in Taiwan as the director general of India Taipei Association. He is said to have played a crucial role in resolving the fractious 73-day long standoff between India and China at Doklam.  
 
Overall Gokhale is among the 23 diplomats who have had their ambassadorial stints in Beijing since the 1950s. However, R K Nehru, India’s first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s relative, became ambassador to China after demitting his office as foreign secretary in October 1955. He was the second foreign secretary of India.  Nonetheless, by appointing 58-year-old Gokhale as the new foreign secretary, the incumbent Narendra Modi government has made it clear that its priority in external policy front will be China.   
 

Comments

 

Other News

On a personal note: Javed Jaffrey

After his much-appreciated debut in Meri Jung in 1985, Javed Jaffrey inspired a new generation of dancers. He then turned from dance to comedy. The versatile actor constantly changes his styles and his live, film, TV and radio appearances always promise novelty and surprise. In 2014 he joined the Aam A

Allegations against CJI: Inquiry will strengthen the independence of the judiciary

Yes, we must stand rock solid with the judiciary and the judges. We must protect the independence of the judiciary too. What does this mean in the present context of a very serious charge of sexual harassment levelled by a former employee of the court against the CJI?  We are told that there is a larg

“Managing data is challenging”

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is a society set up by the railways ministry in July 1986 to provide IT related services to the Indian Railways. CRIS deals in a gamut of functions, like passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement,

A boost to those who need it most

What are 600 million people? Almost twice the population of the US. What are 500 million people? About three-fourth of the population of Europe. Why are we talking about these numbers? Well, because as per a study by Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (‘Rise of New Middle Class in India and Its

Expanding Eureka!

Abright yellow van with figures of children playing with a whirligig, a Newton’s cradle, a magnetic compass rolls into the Government Higher Primary School in Kittaganahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Students in the playground leave what they are doing and mill about it in excitement. For they

The spark in the classroom

Not many children dream of starting an idyllic school of their own when they grow up. But Ramji Raghavan, founder of the Agastya International Foundation – which fosters the creative learning of science in stude



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter