In yet another big-ticket appointment by the Narendra Modi government, Vijay Keshav Gokhale has been named as the new Foreign Secretary. This was revealed by an official order today evening. Gokhale is at present secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Gokhale is a 1981-batch officer of Indian Foreign Service (IFS). Before joining the MeA, Gokhale was India’s Ambassador to China. Before that, from October 2013 to January 2016, Gokhale was the Ambassador of India to Germany. Gokhale was also the High Commissioner of India to Malaysia from January 2010 to October 2013. In June 2017, Vijay Keshav Gokhale was appointed as the economic relations secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.
The 54-year old Gokhale is regarded as one of the key people to have resolved the Doklam crisis. From June 16, 2017, to August 28, 2017, India and China were at a stand-off at the Indo-China border near Doklam. The conflict was resolved by August end and Gokhale played a key role to avert any major mishap.
Gokhale will have a two-year term. As per rules, the posts of foreign secretary, defence and home secretaries, CBI and IB chiefs are for a two-year term.
Gokhale will replace S Jaishankar as Foreign Secretary of India. S Jaishankar completes his tenure on January 28. Jaishankar occupied the position since January 2015 for two years. He was given a one-year extension in January last year. Jaishankar joined Indian Foreign Service in 1977. Jaishankar previously served as Indian Ambassador to the United States from 2013 to 2015, and China from 2009 to 2013. Jaishankar was also regarded as a key player in negotiating the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement under the former PM Manmohan Singh led UPA government.
Gokhale is four years junior to the current Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar. Gokhale joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1981 and Jaishankar joined in 1977. Prior to joining the Foreign Services, Gokhale completed his Master’s degree in History from Delhi University. Vijay Gokhale is married to Vandana Gokhale and they have one son. His previous diplomatic assignments include postings in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing and New York.