NEW DELHI: In a surprise announcement on Wednesday evening, S Jaishankar, India’s Ambassador to the US, has been appointed Foreign Secretary, replacing Sujatha Singh, whose tenure has been abruptly “curtailed” by nearly eight months.
Dr Jaishankar’s new posting was announced after a meeting of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening.
Ms Singh’s two-year tenure was to end in August this year. The Foreign Secretary is appointed for a fixed two-year term.
Before being posted in Washington in December 2013, Dr Jaishankar has served as India’s Ambassador to China, and was also the High Commissioner in Singapore. He was also a key member of the team that worked on the nuclear deal with the US in 2008, when Dr Manmohan Singh of the Congress was Prime Minister.
A 1977 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service, Dr Jaishankar was reportedly Dr Singh’s first pick to replace Ranjan Mathai as Foreign Secretary in 2013. But the then PM was reportedly advised by senior leaders of the Congress to go by seniority, and Ms Singh was appointed.
Dr Jaishankar, has earlier in his career been posted in India’s embassy in Moscow and several other European capitals, apart from Tokyo, Japan.
He also served as First Secretary and Political Advisor to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka.
He holds a PhD and MPhil in International Relations and a MA in Political Science.