In what shows that the Modi government took a brilliant step by appointing S. Jaishankar, former Foreign Secretary of India, as the External Affairs Minister, former US diplomats and foreign policy experts have welcomed his appointment and have expressed faith in the fact that US-India ties will be strengthened under his watch. It must be noted that Jaishankar had served as India’s Ambassador to the US from 2013-2015. He has clearly emerged as a popular face as far as the diplomatic circles in the US are concerned.
Nisha Desai Biswal, former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia in the US Administration said, “I am thrilled to see Jaishankar take on the role of Minister of External Affairs. He is a seasoned and skilled diplomat, and his depth of experience as a global strategist has made him a key figure in the development of India’s foreign policy.” She added, “He commands great respect around the world and particularly in the US for his role in strengthening the bilateral relationship. I am confident that US-India ties will be enhanced as a result of this appointment.”
Richard Verma, former US Ambassador to India from 2015-2017 also heaped praise on the newly appointed External Affairs Minister and said, Jaishankar “is one of the world’s best diplomats.” He also said that Jaishankar knows the details of complex issues. Stressing further upon Jaishankar’s abilities, he said, “He’s a tough negotiator, but yet exceptionally fair and he knows how to get a deal done. He knows the US-India relationship and the India-China set of issues better than anyone.” Verma also said, “This is an inspired choice by the Prime Minister. Minister Jaishankar goes into the job confronting a difficult set of challenges, but I know he is more than up to the job. In fact, I’m very confident about the course he will chart.”
Ashley Tellis, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who is known as an expert on India also lauded the decision to appoint Jaishankar and said, “As I have pointed out elsewhere, the PM’s second term is beginning amidst great foreign policy challenges both in India’s neighbourhood and beyond, including ties with China and the United States.” He also said, “Jai’s selection as EAM could not have come at a better time as far as I am concerned for three reasons: he thinks strategically about India’s interests in a way that few do, excepting the prime minister and the NSA; he will be able to manage both the MEA and other GOI bureaucracies better than most because he has come up from within their ranks; and last, and perhaps most importantly, the PM trusts him in ways that will allow him to implement Indian foreign policy without him having to constantly look over his shoulder,” and added, “I think NSA Doval and Jaishankar as EAM will make a terrific team.”
It is clear that top diplomats and foreign policy experts have really welcomed the decision taken by PM Modi to appoint Jaishankar as the External Affairs Minister. India’s foreign policy and interests are in safe hands under this dispensation. PM Modi has once again proved his ability to pick the right person for the right job. India has already emerged as a global power under PM Modi. Now, with such expertise on foreign relations, India clearly has an upper hand.