History repeated it self yesterday, when Sujatha Singh, the foreign secretary was unceremoniously shunted out eight month ahead of her retirement and S Jaishankar was named the new foreign secretary by Modi government.Singh is the first foreign secretary to be removed unceremoniously after Rajiv Gandhi removed AP Venkateswaran 28 years ago in 1987.
Jaishankar who was India’s ambassador to the United States took charge Thursday morning but refused to answer questions on the controversy over his appointment.
Singh was not present when Jaishankar took charge at the South Block office. He will have a two-year tenure as per rules.
From all accounts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been unimpressed with Singh and her work, and had made no secret of it in the past months. There had been talk of a change for some time, but foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is said to have wanted Singh to stay on.
The decision to appoint Jaishankar, who played a key role during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September and US President Barack Obama’s just concluded visit in New Delhi, was taken by the Appointments Committee of the cabinet chaired by Modi.
Jaishankar,IFS of 1977 batch is the son of late K Subrahmanyam, one of India’s leading strategic analysts, was also a key member of the Indian team which negotiated the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal.
The 60-year old diplomat had also been posted as Ambassador to China, Singapore and Czech Republic.
Singh had taken over as the third woman foreign secretary in August, 2013 and had eight more months to serve. She is the first foreign secretary to bw removed unceremoniously after Rajiv Gandhi removed AP Venkateswaran in 1987.