Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale took charge as Foreign Secretary of India on Monday morning.Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar announced it on twitter saying, “An early morning start! Shri Vijay Gokhale, an Indian Foreign Service Officer of the 1981 batch, took over as Foreign Secretary of India today morning…”
Considered an expert on China, Vijay Gokhale had played a crucial role in negotiating the “Disengagement Understanding” between India and China, ending the 73-day long Doklam stand-off last year.
On January 1, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved Gokhale’s appointment to the post of foreign secretary.
He took over from Dr S Jaishankar, a 1977-batch IFS officer, who was appointed foreign secretary in January 2015 for two years, and got an extension of a year with his tenure ending on January 28, 2018.
He replaced Sujata Singh whose tenure had abruptly been curtailed just a few days ahead of her retirement to accommodate Jaishankar.
Vijay Gokhale, a 1981-batch IFS officer, was serving as the secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) before taking over.
He was India’s Ambassador to China from January 20, 2016 to October 21, 2017. His previous diplomatic assignments include postings in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing and New York.
He has also served as Deputy Secretary (Finance), Director (China & East Asia) and Joint Secretary (East Asia) during his stints at the Headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs.
He was also High Commissioner of India to Malaysia from January 2010 to October 2013 and Ambassador of India to the Federal Republic of Germany from October 2013 to January 2016.