The brilliant diplomat who was also India's envoy to Singapore five years ago is held in high regard by the Indian Prime Minister
1/29/2015 6:21:00 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India's ambassador to the United States, has been appointed the new foreign secretary. A day after President Barack Obama flew out of India, the Modi government late last evening (Wednesday January 28, 2015) announced the abrupt "curtailment of tenure of foreign secretary Sujatha Singh with immediate effect".
Jaishankar, a 1977-batch IFS officer – one year junior to Singh - will serve in his new role for two years. He was scheduled to retire on January 31, but will now succeed Singh, who has served in this position for one and a half years and demits office on January 31 instead of as scheduled in August.
Jaishankar is considered the architect of the Indo-US nuclear deal of 2008, and the man behind the recent breakthrough on its operationalisation.
He was previously the envoy to China before being appointed as India's ambassador to the US. He is said to be the person behind US President Barack Obama's first-off-the-blocks congratulatory call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Lok Sabha poll results were declared in May.
Prior to his posting to China, Jaishankar was India's High Commissioner to Singapore from 2007 to 2009.
Jaishankar is also said to have been instrumental in reversing the US no-visa policy on Modi, who first met him during a visit to China in 2011.
The two met late Tuesday night.
The announcement was made following a meeting of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by the PM.
Jaishankar's appointment promises sweeping changes to the ministry of external affairs. In the past six months, no ambassadorial appointments have been cleared by the government. The MEA had sent in recommendations but they were not cleared by the PMO, partly because the PM wanted to make the changes at the helm first.
A slew of ambassadorial and joint secretary changes are waiting to be made which are now likely to go through. Among the first decisions will be to appoint a successor to Jaishankar in Washington DC.
Jaishankar will start work on Thursday, and in the first week of February will preside over the first heads of mission meeting called during the NDA government. He is expected to get a freer hand in MEA because the PM believes he can take out-of-the-box decisions.
India’s number one diplomat has a strong connection to Singapore where he served a high commissioner to the city-state for three years until his appointment in 2010 as India’s envoy to China.
Jaishankar is remembered in Singapore as an astute diplomat and thinker. Fluent in several languages including Hindi and Japanese, he helped cement bilateral ties between the two countries and was also a strong supporter of the Indian community’s cultural activities, among which was officiating at the launch the first magazine for overseas Indians in the region – India Se.
Sixty year-old Jaishankar has over 36 years of experience in the foreign service. He was India's ambassador to China for four and a half years until 2013. From 2007 to 2009 he was high commissioner to Singapore, and from 2001 to 2004 ambassador to the Czech Republic.
Jaishankar played a key role in negotiating the US-India civil nuclear agreement. Jaishankar was appointed as India's ambassador to United States in September 2013. He took charge on December 23, 2013 succeeding Nirupama Rao. He arrived in the United States amid the Devyani Khobragade incident, and was involved in negotiating the Indian diplomat's departure from the United States
Jaishankar was India's longest-serving ambassador to China, with a four-and-a-half year term. As ambassador to Beijing, Jaishankar was involved in improving economic, trade and cultural relations between China and India, and in managing the China-Indian border dispute.
Born in New Delhi, he did his schooling from Air Force Central School, New Delhi and is a graduate of St Stephen's College at the University of Delhi. He has an MA in Political Science and an M.Phil and PhD in International Relations from JNU where he specialised in nuclear diplomacy. He is the son of prominent Indian strategic affairs and commentator K Subrahmanyam.----Times of India, Hindustan Times, India Se Media
Jaishankar as cheif guest at the launch of India Se Magazine in June 2007.
Jaishankar interacting with India Se's Executive Director and other team members. Shobha Tsering Bhalla, India Se's founder/MD is on the far left.