Former Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has been appointed as the new Minister of External Affairs in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet 2.0. On Thursday, he took the oath-to-office along with PM Modi and 57 other ministers during the swearing-in ceremony which came as a surprise addition to the new cabinet.
Under his charges, V. Muraleedharan has been appointed as Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs.
In what is said to a well-thought move towards foreign policy, S Jaishankar is the new Minister of External Affairs of India, who has a diplomatic career span of more than three decades.
A Padma Shri awardee by President Ram Nath Kovind, Jaishankar has served as foreign secretary in January 2015, after PM Modi dismissed the foreign secretary Sujatha Singh. He has been the country's longest-serving foreign secretary in four decades and helped craft much of PM Modi's foreign policy.
A former ambassador to China, Jaishankar had played a key role in resolving the crisis following the incursion in Ladakh's Depsang and the 73 days long Doklam stand-off, handling the tough negotiations with Beijing. He is credited to end the Chinese policy of issuing stapled visas to Indians from Jammu and Kashmir in 2010. He was also an Indian ambassador to Washington when Prime Minister Modi visited the US for the first time.
At the beginning of his career, he was an Indian Foreign Service officer with a posting in Moscow from 1979 to 1981. From 1981-1985, he served under-secretary in the Americas and Policy Planning Divisions of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Jaishankar holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil in International Relations besides an M.A. in Political Science.
Notably, Sushma Swaraj was the previous MEA from 2014-2019. The 66-year-old leader has left a legacy of an easily-accessible external affairs minister who helped Indian diaspora in distress with her quick response on Twitter to requests for help. Swaraj had opted out of fighting the Lok Sabha elections due to health reasons. She served her fourth term in the House and has long been one of BJP's most powerful woman representative.