05 August, 2021

A Rash Of Good Turns

An unseeemly elevation, but new foreign secretary S. Jaishankar has a proven track record

A Rash Of Good Turns

Sixty-year-old Subra­hm­a­n­yam Jaishankar’s app­oin­t­m­ent as India’s for­e­ign secretary on Wed­nesday night may sound dramatic, but it’s not surprising to watchers of South Block politics. He’s been a serious contender for the post for the past two years. The Cong­ress PM, Manmohan Singh, was equally keen to see him as head of the Indian Foreign Service. But he gave up on his choice when senior party colleagues argued that Jaishankar’s appo­i­ntment over Sujatha Singh, a year senior to him in service and also the topper of her batch, could unnecessarily create disquiet among the ifs cadre.

When Narendra Modi became PM in May last year, his name once again sta­r­ted doing the rounds. Modi was keen to see him appointed as a key advisor of his foreign policy team. But Ajit Doval’s presence (Jaishankar’s senior as a civil servant and also a confidant of the PM), created a problem. Jaishankar was not willing to come in as deputy national security advisor when Doval...

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