As a surprise addition to PM Narendra Modi’s cabinet, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar today formally joined the BJP. Dr Jaishankar, a 1977-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, had previously served as Foreign Secretary.
The BJP is likely to field Dr Jaishankar from Gujarat as its Rajya Sabha candidate. He has to be a Member of Parliament within six months of being sworn in.
Regarded as a close aide of the PM, Dr Jaishankar is otherwise known as his “crisis manager” on foreign affairs. He served as Foreign Secretary for three years till 2015 during PM Modi’s first term as Prime Minister, until his retirement in 2018.
Replacing Sujata Singh, he was appointed Foreign Secretary in January 2015. After retiring from government service, he was hired by the Tata Group as President of its global corporate affairs.
He had also received the Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind this year.
Dr Jaishankar was also a key member of the team that worked on the nuclear deal with the US. The deal, which had taken several years to develop, was signed by the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh in 2007. Dr Jaishankar was also Dr Singh’s first choice in 2013 to replace Ranjan Mathai as Foreign Secretary.
After taking charge as foreign minister, Dr Jaishankar became one of the two new faces in the powerful Cabinet Committee on Security or CCS. The other important figure in the committee is PM Modi’s closest confidant and new Home Minister Amit Shah.
Dr Jaishankar, who was also a former envoy to China, has vast experience in dealing with the country. Experts have said his experience will be valuable in improving relations with Beijing, badly hit after the Doklam stand-off in 2017.
Dr Jaishankar took over as Foreign Minister from Sushma Swaraj.