After a hiatus of over 15 months, China is expected to announce its new ambassador to India, with Xu Feihong reportedly being the likely appointee.
The Wire’s report suggests that Xu, currently serving as the foreign ministry’s assistant minister for financial and administrative affairs, might assume the role as early as next month.
Although the Indian government has yet to officially confirm this appointment, sources have indicated that notification about Xu’s nomination has been communicated.
- Xu Feihong’s Background: Xu Feihong, the potential ambassador, presently holds the position of the foreign ministry’s assistant minister for financial and administrative affairs. His previous role was serving as the ambassador to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2013.
- Succession from Sun Weidong: Sun Weidong was China’s preceding ambassador to India, succeeding Luo Zhaohui and completing his term on October 26, 2022.
- Last Long Gap in Ambassador Posting: The prolonged gap of over a year in appointing a Chinese ambassador last occurred in 1976. After Sun Weidong’s departure in 2022, Charge d’affaires Ma Jia has been leading the embassy in the interim.
- India-China Relations: The Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff in eastern Ladakh for over three and a half years. Despite disengagement from certain areas, tensions persist, stemming from the border clash in 2020.
- Normalization of Ties: The last extended gap in ambassador posting dates back to the period between the border war in 1962 and the normalization of ties in 1976. Charge d’affaires Ma Jia has been overseeing the embassy post-Sun Weidong’s departure in 2022.
- Ladakh Standoff: The standoff in eastern Ladakh, ongoing since May 5, 2020, resulted in a series of military and diplomatic talks. Disengagement in some areas was achieved in 2021, marking progress in easing tensions.
- Galwan Valley Clash: The relations between India and China saw a significant downturn after a fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020. It marked one of the most serious military conflicts between the two nations in decades.
- Disengagement Process: Following intensive talks, both sides completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake and in the Gogra area.
The potential appointment of Xu Feihong raises anticipation about the trajectory of India-China relations in the coming months.