Gautam Bambawale, currently India’s ambassador to Bhutan, will be appointed as the high commissioner to Pakistan, a Times of India report said on Thursday. Bambawale, an expert on China and East Asia, will replace T C A Raghavan after the latter retires in December this year.
While a sensitive posting at all times, the ambassadorial position to India’s western neighbour comes at a critical juncture: talks with Pakistan have been frozen for a while, with the most recent incident being the cancellation of NSA-level talks last month.
Bambawale, who is fluent in both Chinese and German, and has a striking career graph, has his task cut out for him.
Originally from Pune, Bambawale joined the Indian Foreign service in 1984. Between 1985 and 1991 he served in Hong Kong and Beijing.
In 1993, after returning to New Delhi, he was director in the Americas Division of the Ministry, responsible for relations with the US and Canada.
Bambawale has worked in Germany, US and China where he has served repeatedly. In 2007, he became the first Consul General of India in Guangzhou, China. From July 2004 to September 2007, he was Minister (Political) and Head of the Political Wing at the Embassy of India in Washington DC where he was a participant in the transformation of India-US relations.
He has held charge of the key position of Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs from December, 2009 to July, 2014, where he was responsible for ties with China, Japan and South Korea, among others. He became Indian ambassador to Bhutan in 2014.