Seasoned diplomat S Jaishankar took over as Foreign Secretary early on Thursday, a day after the government gave marching order to his predecessor Sujatha Singh.
“My priorities are the government’s priorities,” Jaishankar told mediapersons.
His appointment as Foreign Secretary was announced late at night on Wednesday.He was informed about his appointment shortly after the decision was taken at a meeting of the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. “This is a big responsibility. I would say that I am very honoured that I have been assigned this responsibility,” he told journalists.
Jaishankar, who was India’s envoy to China since August 2009 till September 2013, may accompany Swaraj to Beijing from February 1 to 3 and help her smooth ruffled feathers in the communist country. Beijing had sharply reacted to the joint statement, which Modi and Obama issued after their meeting in New Delhi.
Sources told Deccan Herald that Modi brought in Jaishankar to add new dynamism to New Delhi’s diplomatic efforts, particularly on economic diplomacy.
During his 38-year-long career, Jaishankar served in almost all countries like US, China, Singapore and Japan, which Modi government is keen to source investment from in order to spur growth in manufacturing sector. He also served in New Delhi’s diplomatic missions in Moscow and Czech Republic. He headed the Americas Division in the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs from 2004 till 2007, when he actively took part in engagements for the civil nuclear cooperation agreement.
Modi came to know Jaishankar personally when he visited Beijing as Chief Minister of Gujarat during the IFS officer’s stint as India’s ambassador to China. Jaishankar played a key role in fixing the appointment of Modi with top officials of the Chinese government and made his visit a success.
The IFS officer, who is the son of strategic affairs analyst late K Subrahmanyam, impressed Modi, notwithstanding his purported proximity to the then prime minister Manmohan Singh.