S Jaishankar returns to Modi Cabinet 3.0 to navigate choppy geopolitical waters

New Delhi, June 9 (UNI) Astute, learned and well-respected globally as India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar on Sunday returned to the Modi 3.0 cabinet.

The diplomat-turned-politician served as Foreign Secretary in PM Modi’s first term and was appointed EAM in 2019 in Modi’s second term.

Jaishankar’s role as EAM has seen a more assertive Indian voice on the global geopolitical stage – with India sticking to its stand of purchase of Russian oil in the face of strident criticism from the West over the sanctions on Moscow due to the Russia-Ukraine war, and rebutting Western criticism point-by-point.

With regard to China, Jaishankar has been very open in calling out Beijing for its failure to maintain peace and tranquility on the border, but also engaging in diplomatic negotiations with his Chinese counterpart on the boundary issue.

During his tenure in Modi 2.0, Jaishankar has played a key role in shaping India’s foreign policy, marked by outreach to smaller countries and the Global South that were largely ignored.

Jaishankar’s five years in the previous Modi government have been notable for deft handling of hot geopolitical issues – whether the Russia-Ukraine war, the Covid-19 pandemic and its after effects, or the latest Hamas-Gaza war.

An alumnus of St. Stephen’s College of Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jaishankar entered the Indian Foreign Service in 1977. Between 1979 to 1981, he served in the Indian mission to the Soviet Union in Moscow, and later as an undersecretary in the Americas division of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Jaishankar was Ambassador to the US from 2013-15, to China from 2009-2013 and the Czech Republic from 2000-2004. He was High Commissioner to Singapore from 2007-2009.

He was made Foreign Secretary in 2015, after PM Modi in his first term abruptly ended the term of then Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, an appointee of the previous Congress-led UPA government.

Jaishankar took over as Foreign Secretary on January 29, two days ahead of his scheduled retirement.

During his term as Ambassador to the US, Jaishankar was a key negotiator for the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal.

During the Doklam standoff in 2017, Jaishankar as Foreign Secretary through his diplomatic efforts helped de-escalate tensions between the two countries, thanks to his experience in dealing with China as India’s envoy to Beijing earlier.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, India sent Made in India vaccines to many countries of the Global South under the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, which won India much praise at a time when rich Western countries were stocking up on vaccines.

He has authored several books, including ‘The India Way’ and ‘Why Bharat Matters’.

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