New Delhi (Web Desk): India’s high commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale has been appointed as the country’s next envoy to China , the external affairs ministry announced on Friday.

A 1984 India Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Bambawale is expected to take up the assignment shortly, the ministry said. He will replace Vijay Gokhale.

Bambawale was previously India’s ambassador to Bhutan. He has also handled the China desk in the Indian foreign ministry that looks after relations with Japan, China , South Korea, Mongolia and North Korea. One of the first tasks in front of Bambawale will be to stabilise India-China ties rocked by a military face off in the Dokalam area of Bhutan that lasted 73 days.

Bambawale’s appointment clears the way for India’s ambassador to Poland, Ajay Bisaria, to be named India’s high commissioner to Pakistan.