Jaishankar, new Indian foreign secretary
30 January 2015, Nirapad News: S Jaishankar today took charge as Indian foreign secretary, replacing Sujatha Singh whose tenure was abruptly “curtailed” on Wednesday night, a move which evoked a sharp reaction from the Congress. Jaishankar will have a two-year tenure as per rules.
I would say that I am very honoured that I have been assigned this responsibility,” said Jaishankar, a 1977-batch IFS officer, when asked about his sudden appointment.
Sujatha was not present when Jaishankar took charge at the South Block office. Jaishankar will have a two-year tenure as per rules.
Before his appointment as foreign secretary, the 60-year- old diplomat was India’s ambassador to the US. He had also been posted as ambassador to China, Singapore and Czech Republic.
The decision to appoint Jaishankar, who played a key role during Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September and US President Barack Obama’s just concluded visit to India, was taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Modi.
Sujatha had taken over as the third woman Foreign Secretary in August, 2013 and had nearly eight more months to serve.
Jaishankar, son of late K Subrahmanyam, one of India’s leading strategic analysts, was a key member of the Indian team which negotiated the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal.
However, his appointment evoked a sharp reaction from Congress which questioned the timing of government’s decision to remove Sujatha as foreign secretary and wondered whether it was “retribution” for her stand on IFS officer Devyani Khobragade.