The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Vijay Keshav Gokhale, 1981-batch Indian Foreign Service, Secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, as the new Foreign Secretary in place of Dr S Jaishankar on the first day of 2018. Gokhale, India’s Ambassador to China, had played a key role in defusing the 73-day-long Doklam crisis. Gokhale, an expert on China affairs, was brought in as India’s top diplomat, in South Block keeping in mind the diplomatic sensitivities. Significantly, it has now become almost a pattern that an ex-Indian envoy to China has a better chance to grab the coveted post of foreign secretary. Shivshankar Menon and Nirupama Rao, both during the UPA time and S Jaishankar of the NDA regime, happened to be India’s Ambassador to China and someone with a deep understanding of India-China diplomatic intricacies. 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. Jaishankar was appointed as the Foreign Secretary in January 2015, initially for two years, and then, his tenure was extended for one more year till January 28, 2018. Prior to joining the Foreign Services, Gokhale completed his Master’s degree in History from Delhi University. Gokhale has represented India in Germany as well as in Malaysia. He was the 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. Thereafter, Gokhale took charge as India’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China from January 2016 to October 2017. Though India-China relations are likely to top Gokhale’s agenda during the year 2018, other issues concerning India-US bilateral and those arising out of Pakistan may prominently future in Gokhale’s list of priorities.