Foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has been given an unprecedented one-year extension after his two-year tenure ends on January 28.
Jaishankar, a 1977-batch IFS officer, served in Singapore, China and the US before he became foreign secretary and was instrumental in closing the India-US nuclear agreement. He has led India’s push for NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) membership in spite of Chinese objections.
The decision on extension of his tenure was conveyed to Jaishankar late Monday evening. Known to keep a low profile, Jaishankar enjoys the confidence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, national security adviser Ajit Doval and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. He is on the same page as Doval on India’s policy vis-à-vis Pakistan.
This is the first time that a foreign secretary has been granted an extension beyond the fixed tenure of two years. The extension means there is a good chance for India’s ambassador to Russia, Pankaj Saran, and envoy to China, Vijay Gokhale, to succeed Jaishankar when he retires.
Jaishankar first came in touch with Modi in 2011 in China where he was India’s envoy and the latter was on a visit as the chief minister of Gujarat.