The Modi government is known for its knack of diplomacy and there are lots of examples that validate this point. Recently, the NDA government was applauded across the political spectrum for giving fillip to Indo-US relationship.
Barely, days after the big hype of Obama's India visit got over, the central government raked up controversy for unceremonious removal of Sujatha Singh as the country's foreign sectretary. Though the BJP has ruled out any political motive behind this exit of outgoing FS, still the Opposition is not convinced.
"I don't see any reason for hue and cry. A government is within its rights to decide how it would like to appoint what officers and with what responsibilities. And this is not the first time..... Preceding governments have taken (such) decisions," BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.
Sujatha Singh was removed late last night from the post eight months before her tenure was to end and was replaced by S Jaishankar, Ambassador to the US.
Is this removal linked with Khobragade's episode?
As the government has not provided any convincing reason for diplomat Sujatha's removal, Congress got a reason to step up the ante. Sources say that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was not very happy with the move. It is being speculated that Sujatha will be given some governor's post.
The Congress party questioned the timing of government's decision to remove FS and wondered whether it was "retribution" for her stand on IFS officer Devyani Khobragade.
Singh was the Foreign Secretary when the arrest of Khobragade in the US had led to a diplomatic dust-up. The 1999 batch IFS officer was arrested in 2013 in New York on visa fraud charges.
The Gandhi-Nehru party must remember that 28 years ago in 1987 similar act was repeated by its own Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He had removed AP Venkateswaran from foreign secretary post.
Jaishankar was first choice of Manmohan Singh but Sonia had put her foot down
Reportedly, Jaishankar's appointment was stopped in 2013 by Congress president Sonia Gandhi who instead appointed Sujatha Singh as Foreign Secretary. Though former was the first choice of Manmohan Singh because of his capabilities, Sonia was adamant on Sujatha's appointment who was daughter of former IB chief T V Rajeshwar, an old Congress party loyalist.
Ultimately, Singh gave in and Sujatha got reins not because of her merit but because of her Congress connection. In the whole game of politics, the one who deserved the post, suffered.
Why this sudden change of guard?
It is being said that the change of guard has been done with some strategic planning. Reportedly, Modi Government was not at all satisfied with Sujatha's diplomatic work in recent days. Sources said that PMO office was not very happy with her diplomatic skills as she never served in mission of neighbouring countries.
Unconfirmed sources say that the Government was under view that she was not perfect to work on many agendas of the BJP government including the aim of improving relations with the SAARC countries. Then Khobragade episode further made Government's opinion strong that she is risky to work with.
Why S Jaishankar was appointed
S Jaishankar was appointed because of his knack of diplomacy. At a time when great upheaval with China, Pakistan is expected after Obama-Modi's bromance, government needed a man who can handle diplomatic issues meticulously.
And Jaishankar fits in this category. He has vast experience on this front as he had been ambassador to China and before that ambassador to Singapore and the Czech Republic.
Reportedly, Modi Government was very happy with the way Jaishankar as US ambassador managed last year's visit of Narendra Modi to US. After putting all these facts into account, it can be said that Jaishankar is the right choice.