KATHMANDU, May 31: India's former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has been appointed the Minister for External Affairs on Friday.
Jaishankar has assumed his office on Friday evening. He had visited Nepal in the capacity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's special envoy two days ahead of the constitution promulgation in Nepal in September 2015.
It was widely reported that the Jaishankar asked Nepali political leaders to postpone promulgation of the Constitution and accommodate the demands raised by the Madeshi parties.
As Nepali leaders refused to accept Jaishankar's advice, the southern neighbor imposed a five-month economic embargo. Many in Nepal consider Jaishankar as the mastermind of the economic embargo.
He has become the first former foreign secretary to be inducted as the minister in the Indian cabinet. Jaishankar has become the first former IFS officer to join the government without being a member of the ruling party, the Hindu reported.
Mr. Jaishankar took over as Foreign Secretary in January 2015 after a stint at Washington DC as India’s envoy. During the posting, he played a key role in ensuring the successful first visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the U.S.
As Foreign Secretary, Mr. Jaishankar conducted the massive relief operation in Nepal after the devastating earthquake in April 2015.
He was also responsible for boosting India’s campaign for a seat at the Nuclear Suppliers Group and other export control regimes.
Mr. Jaishankar’s experience with China is acknowledged in policy circles in India. As India’s Ambassador in Beijing, he handled the issue of stapled visa for Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh and later as Foreign Secretary, he helmed the response to the 73-day Doklam stand off in 2017.
He also worked in support of broadening of India’s maritime diplomacy by reaching out to the Asia-Pacific region. The Quad dialogue involving India, Japan, US and Australia was conducted during his stint as the Foreign Secretary in 2017.
Born to strategic affairs commentator K. Subrahmanyam and Sulochana, Mr Jaishankar was educated in JNU and joined Indian Foreign Service in 1977 after a brief stint as a journalist.
Serving in multiple locations like Sri Lanka, his decades-long career was distinguished for great power experience. Mr Jaishankar, a Russian language expert served his longest ambassadorial tenure in China during the UPA era and followed by his stint in the US.
After his retirement in 2018, he joined Tata Sons. He received a Padma Shri, one of the high civil decorations of the Indian state for his services in 2019.
(With inputs from Indian media)
Here is the list of ministers inducted in the Modi-led Cabinet: