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2-min read

In First Tweet as External Affairs Minister, Jaishankar Says Proud to Follow in Sushma Swaraj’s Footsteps

With over three decades of diplomatic experience, Jaishankar has previously held positions like the High Commissioner to Singapore, Ambassador to China and also the United States of America.

News18.com

Updated:June 1, 2019, 10:52 AM IST
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In First Tweet as External Affairs Minister, Jaishankar Says Proud to Follow in Sushma Swaraj’s Footsteps
S Jaishankar is received by Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale at South Block in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)

In his first tweet after assuming charge as external affairs minister, S Jaishankar said he was proud to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Sushma Swaraj as he thanked everyone for their good wishes.

The former foreign secretary, who was a surprise pick for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers, added that “Team @MEAIndia continue to be at your service 24x7”.

Jaishankar’s appointment is a shift from tradition. With over three decades of diplomatic experience, Jaishankar has previously held positions like the High Commissioner to Singapore, Ambassador to China and also the United States of America. He had played a key role in the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, and performance as the Indian Ambassador to the US had catapulted him to the coveted post of Foreign Secretary.

Jaishankar comes at a crucial time for India’s foreign policy. Among other things, the United States has announced that it would be cutting out the preferential treatment that it gave to India that allows duty-free entry for over $5 billion worth of exports to the US. Further, there is a huge question mark on what India’s policy with regards to sanctions on oil imports from Iran.

India, so far, has maintained that it would take a call on the sanctions after the elections were over. Further, the Indian government had added that the sanctions would not hinder India’s oil market. Jaishankar’s experience in handling American diplomacy is certain to come in handy for the Modi government. He was the former ambassador to the US and during his time as joint secretary (Americas) at the Ministry of External Affairs, he also played a significant role in negotiating the Indo-US Nuclear deal and making it into a viable, coherent policy for both countries to work on in terms of more defence cooperation.

Further, Jaishankar is considered one of India’s strongest hands on China, having been the longest-serving ambassador to China. He has played a crucial role in increasing engagements between both countries. He is credited with having negotiated end of stapled visas that the Chinese issued to people of Jammu & Kashmir. Further, Jaishankar, as foreign secretary, is credited with helping negotiate the resolution between India and China at Doklam last year.

Jaishankar’s stand on Pakistan, during his time as foreign secretary, has mostly rode on making terror as the basis of talks with regards to Jammu & Kashmir. Post his retirement, speaking at the Jasjit Singh Memorial Lecture on National Security, Jaishankar had made it clear that India would extend its hands as long as Pakistan behaved well. Now, with a new government in Pakistan under Imran Khan and the worsening ties between both countries post Balakot, it is only to be seen if and when Jaishankar decides on talks with Pakistan.

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