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Amid revival of talks with Pak, Gautam Bambawale named India’s new envoy

NAYANIMA BASU New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

The Centre on Wednesday named veteran IFS officer Gautam Bambawale to be the next High Commissioner to Pakistan even as India readies for foreign secretary-level talks with its nuclear-armed neighbour next month.

Interestingly, Bambawale, a 1984-batch IFS officer, will also be taking over his new assignment in January when both sides will be meeting to discuss the newly established ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’.

Bambawale will be replacing TCA Raghavan, who will be retiring this month. He took over as India’s Ambassador to Bhutan in April 2014.

However, his name got selected for this coveted post of being envoy to Pakistan because of his work in Bhutan, which was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first foreign destination after assuming office in June 2014, officials told BusinessLine.

An expert on Chinese matters, Bambawale had served as joint secretary (East Asia) in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) from 2009 till 2014. He has also worked in Germany, US and China. In 2007 he was named as first Consul General of India in Guangzhou, China.

Challenges will be aplenty for Bambawale now that the government is planning to start talks with Pakistan afresh discussing all issues head-on. Besides, he will be instrumental in paving way for a smooth visit by PM Modi to Islamabad in 2016 for the SAARC Summit.

Meanwhile, in a separate development Sartaj Aziz, adviser on foreign affairs to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday that it has proposed to India middle of January for talks between the foreign secretaries.

Following Modi’s meeting with Sharif on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took the initiative to mend ties with Pakistan by undertaking a two-day trip there and reviving the stalled dialogue process as she participated for the ‘Heart of Asia’ Summit on Afghanistan.

Published on December 23, 2015

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