S Jaishankar: From Top Diplomat to Modi’s Foreign Minister

Former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is on his way to becoming a Union Cabinet minister.

2 min read
Former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is on his way to becoming a Union Cabinet minister.

A day after S Jaishankar was sworn-as in as a Union Cabinet minister, the former Foreign Secretary on Friday, 31 May, was given the charge of External Affairs ministry.

With this latest accomplishment, he became the first foreign secretary to head the MEA as minister.

A graduate of St Stephen's College, Jaishankar has an MA in Political Science and an MPhil and PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

A 1977 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service, Jaishankar was the longest serving foreign secretary in four decades and was conferred Padma awards by President Ram Nath Kovind in March.

He retired from the position of foreign secretary in late January 2018 – a post for which it is said that he was personally picked by Modi in 2015.

(Catch all the live updates on Cabinet formation here)

A Stellar Career

A career diplomat with a stellar record, the 64-year-old served as India’s ambassador to the US, China, Singapore and Czech Republic. As per NDTV reports, Jaishankar was also former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first choice in 2013 to replace Ranjan Mathai as Foreign Secretary.

During his tenure as an Indian Ambassador to China (2009-2013), he was a prominent figure on handling several diplomatic affairs including incursion in Ladakh's Depsang and handling tough negotiations with Beijing.

In 2014, as an Indian Ambassador to United States, Jaishankar also handled matters on planning Modi’s maiden trip to US. Previously, he was a key member of the team that worked on the nuclear deal with the US that was signed by the UPA government in 2007.

Foreign Secretary

Jaishankar, in 2015, replaced Sujata Singh whose term was abruptly curtailed by the NDA government.

In 2017, at the time India was moving away from its regional bloc SAARC and pushing for the alternative BIMSTEC, Jaishankar had referred to the former as a "jammed vehicle."

The same year, he was a prominent figure in easing the Doklam stand-off.

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