The extension for Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar ends hopes for two senior-most IFS officers but Vijay Gokhale is still a contender to be the next foreign secretary. The Centre’s recent decision to give a one year-extension to Jaishankar, a 1977 batch IFS officer, beyond his two-year-long fixed term has raised many eyebrows. He was appointed in a not-so-smooth change of guard two years ago by curtailing the tenure of the then foreign secretary Sujatha Singh. But this extension means, diplomats such as Anil Wadhwa of 1979 batch and Sujata Mehta of 1980 batch will not get a chance now to be the Foreign Secretary. There were speculations that India’s Ambassador to China and 1981 batch IFS Vijay Gokhale would be brought in to replace Jaishankar, which would have meant Gokhale superseding a number of his seniors in the Foreign Service. Gokhale, who was the High Commissioner to Malaysia and the Ambassador to Germany before moving to China as India’s envoy, will retire only in January 2019, and hence, he is still a contender to be the foreign service’s top job unless the government decides to further amend the rules and gives yet another one-year-extension to Jaishankar beyond January 2018.
VOL. 10 | ISSUE 11| FEB 2017