New Delhi: As India and China were engaged in their longest face-off in over three decades in Doklam, an unassuming Vijay Gokhale, India’s ambassador to Beijing, worked behind the scenes to defuse the tension.
The face-off lasted for 73 days and ended just ahead of the BRICS summit in Xiamen, China. Vijay Gokhale was the one constantly in contact with the Chinese side helping resolve the crisis that was termed a “challenge” for the relationship between neighbours.
Gokhale came back to the South Block soon after, assuming the charge of Secretary (Economic Relations) but the corridors of power were abuzz that he was the man set to take charge once Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s extension gets over in January end. Two months down the line, the formal appointment has been confirmed – the 1981 batch Indian Foreign Service officer is indeed the next Foreign Secretary.
Gokhale was India’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China from January 2016 to October 2017. Before his assignment in Beijing, he served as India’s Ambassador to Germany from October 2013 to January 2016. He was also India’s High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2010 to 2013.
The administrator is a Masters in History from Delhi University.