As PM Modi took oath for his second term as the joining him were around five dozen ministers taking on important portfolios in the Modi Government 2.0. Among new faces, joining in the Modi’s Council of ministers is Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. A former diplomat, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1977. During his association with the Indian Foreign Service, S Jaishankar had served various prestigious positions. He served as Indian Ambassador to the United States (2014–2015), China (2009–2013) and the Czech Republic (2001–04) and as High Commissioner to Singapore (2007–09). According to media reports, Jaishankar is likely to given the EAM portfolio. S Jaishankar would be succeeding former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj if he is allotted the prestigious portfolio.
S Jaishankar has also served as the Foreign Secretary from January 2015. 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 Sino-Indian border dispute. In 2012, he became the first Indian ambassador in ten years to visit Tibet. Jaishankar’s tenure as India’s ambassador to China coincided with several major developments in relations between the two countries. S Jaishankar was also instrumental in diffusing the Doklam standoff between China and India.
S Jaishankar was then appointed as the ambassador in United States. The first crisis he had to deal with was the arrest and jailing of Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested in New York for visa fraud in connection with her housekeeper Sangeeta Richard. Khobragade’s case caused a serious rift in U.S.-Indian relations after she was arrested, strip-searched and held before being released on bail. Jaishankar worked to negotiate Khobragade’s return to India. Jaishankar also played a key role in negotiating the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. This is considered to be a land mark progressive step in the India –US relationships.
During his term as the High Commissioner in Singapore he helped implement the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that expanded the Indian business presence in that country, S Jaishankar also promoted the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, and IIMPact in Singapore. Bringing to the Council of ministers decades of experience in Foreign Relations, S Jaishankar is sure to further boost , India’s foreign policy with the constitutional powers vested in him as a minister of the union of India.
S Jaishankar’s experiences with two other global leaders i.e. China and the United States is also poised to further deepen India’s co-operative ties with these nations. Jaishankar speaks Russian, Tamil, Hindi, Mandarin and a bit of Japanese and Hungarian.
As his tenure in Beijing was ending; Jaishankar was under consideration to become foreign minister under then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. However, internal pressures from members of Singh’s government who had served slightly more time in the Foreign Service scuttled the appointment.
Bringing in S Jaishankar as the Cabinet minister of External affairs is sure to further boost India’s efforts on the Global Stage.