India selects key diplomat as new Taiwan envoy

Gourangalal Das is expected to become the next Indian representative to Taiwan

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India flag (Pixabay photo)

India flag (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — India has selected a senior diplomat as its new envoy to Taiwan following recent border tensions with China.

Gourangalal Das, currently joint secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), has been tipped as the next Indian representative to Taiwan, according to The Indian Express Sunday-version, the Sunday Express. An official government announcement is expected soon, according to the paper.

India and Taiwan do not enjoy formal diplomatic ties as New Delhi recognizes the "one-China" policy, although it does have a Taipei office to carry out diplomatic functions. Named the India-Taipei Association, Das is slated to be its new director general, replacing career diplomat Sridharan Madhusudhanan, the paper reported.

In India’s MEA, a joint secretary who handles New Delhi’s U.S. relations is considered a key official, along with those dealing with China and Pakistan, the paper cited. Das, who is fluent in Mandarin, entered the Indian Foreign Service in 1999, and was stationed in Beijing between 2001 and 2004.

During Manmohan Singh’s tenure, Das also served as a deputy secretary handling external affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office. He was kept on for the transition in 2014.

As Counsellor (Political) at the Indian Embassy in Washington, Das played an important role during Prime Minister Modi’s 2017 U.S. meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. After returning to New Delhi, he was asked by then Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to set up the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, a think tank studying China.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on July 9 also announced that East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Ko Pao-hsuan (葛葆萱) would take over as Taiwan’s representative to India, replacing Tien Chung-kuang (田中光), who has held the position at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India for the past seven years. Ko is expected to begin his new role in September, according to the Hindustan Times.