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Deputy National Security Adviser Vikram Misri, widely regarded as an expert on China, was today appointed as India’s next foreign secretary. Mr Misri, a 1989-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, will succeed incumbent Vinay Kwatra who is likely to be appointed as India’s ambassador to the US.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the name of Mr Misri, the deputy NSA in the National Security Council Secretariat, to the post of foreign secretary with effect from July 15, an official notification said.

Mr Misri’s appointment comes as India looks to navigate various foreign policy challenges including its frosty ties with China following the eastern Ladakh border row.

He has the rare distinction of serving as private secretary to three prime ministers – Inder Kumar Gujral, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi.

Before he was appointed as the Deputy NSA, Vikram Misri served as India’s ambassador to China from 2019-2021.

Mr Misri, 59, is believed to have played a key role in talks between India and China after tensions flared significantly following the Galwan Valley clashes in June, 2020.

The ties between the two countries majorly nosedived following a fierce clash in the Galwan Valley that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

In his illustrious career, Misri also served as India’s ambassador to Spain (2014-2016) and Myanmar (2016-2018) besides having stints in many Indian missions including Pakistan, the US, Germany, Belgium and Sri Lanka.

It is learnt that India’s ambassador to France, Jawed Ashraf is expected to be appointed the deputy NSA.

The government is also learnt to be in the process of appointing India’s envoy to the US and New Delhi’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York.

Mr Kwatra is expected to be the next ambassador to the US, people familiar with the matter said. The post has been lying vacant since Taranjit Sandhu retired in January.

Mr Kwatra was given six months’ extension in March.The position of India’s permanent representative to the UN is also lying vacant as Ruchira Kamboj retires this month.