[The timing seemed to have been partly dictated by Mr. Obama’s visit. Mr. Jaishankar played such an important role in coordinating it that it would have been disruptive to replace him until it was over. And Mr. Jaishankar was due to retire on Saturday, after which he could not have been appointed because only an active foreign service officer can be named foreign secretary.]
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was named
He was formerly the country’s ambassador to the
Credit Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The appointment of the ambassador, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, as foreign secretary, which took effect on Thursday, comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modisteers
toward a closer partnership with the
India . Mr. Jaishankar, who has also served
as ambassador to United States and as high commissioner to China , was a crucial negotiator on the
groundbreaking 2008 civilian nuclear agreement between Singapore and the India . United States
He replaces Sujatha Singh, who was appointed by the previous government led by the Indian National Congress party, the main rival to Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. Ms. Singh articulated
’s angry reaction to the 2013 arrest of India ’s deputy consul general in India , Devyani Khobragade, on visa fraud
charges, an episode that brought relations between the two countries to their
lowest point in years. New York
No explanation was given on Thursday for the reshuffle, which was unusual. More than 15 years have passed since a foreign secretary was removed before the end of his or her term.
The timing seemed to have been partly dictated by Mr. Obama’s visit. Mr. Jaishankar played such an important role in coordinating it that it would have been disruptive to replace him until it was over. And Mr. Jaishankar was due to retire on Saturday, after which he could not have been appointed because only an active foreign service officer can be named foreign secretary.
Still, some commentators saw the announcement as a signal of Mr. Modi’s intention to deepen cooperation with the
. United States
“I don’t know of any foreign secretary who had his experience of dealing with
before becoming foreign secretary,”
said K. Shankar Bajpai, a former Indian ambassador to the America and United States . China
He added that Mr. Jaishankar’s primary task in his two-year term would be “to consolidate the understandings that are growing between
and Washington , and obviate tensions, as far as
possible, between Delhi and Delhi .” Beijing
One of the most notable developments during Mr. Obama’s visit was a joint India-United States statement that chided China for provoking conflict with neighbors over territorial claims in the
South China Sea. Mr. Modi has also expressed interest in concrete steps
aimed at balancing ’s regional influence, such as
reviving a loose security network involving China , Australia , India and the Japan . United States
Mr. Jaishankar has voiced support for such measures. A 2010 cable written by American diplomats and released by WikiLeaks described a meeting at which he “said
would like to ‘coordinate more
closely’ with the India in the face of United States ’s ‘more aggressive approach to
international relations.’ ” China
Opposition leaders questioned the decision to replace Ms. Singh, who had six months left in her term.
“If the prime minister was not happy with her work, why wait until after the presidential visit?” Manish Tewari, a Congress party spokesman, said in televised comments. “If something happened during the visit, the government needs to clear the air.”
In recent months, Mr. Modi has given high-level positions to Indians with years of experience in the
. The government’s chief economic
adviser is Arvind Subramanian, who until last fall was working at two United States research centers, the Peterson
Institute for International Economics and the Center for Global Development.
And the vice chairman of Washington ’s new planning commission, announced
this month, is Arvind Panagariya, an economics professor at India . Columbia University
In a brief appearance before Indian journalists, Mr. Jaishankar said he was “very honored” by the appointment, but he declined to elaborate on his geopolitical agenda.
“My priorities are the government’s priorities,” he said. “I think at this time let’s leave it at that.”