India’s Ambassador to US, S Jaishankar, replaces Sujatha Singh as new Foreign Secretary

New Delhi: In a sudden development, S Jaishankar, India’s Ambassador to the US, was tonight appointed Foreign Secretary, replacing Sujatha Singh whose tenure has been abruptly ‘curtailed” by nearly eight months.

The surprise announcement was made after a meeting of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Singh’s two-year tenure was to end in August this year.

A late night official announcement said, “Curtailment of tenure of Ms Sujatha Singh, IFS batch 1976 as Foreign Secretary with immediate effect.”

Some reports said Sujatha Singh resigned following the curtailment of her tenure with immediate effect. But, it could not be independently verified.

“Appointment of S Jaishankar, IFS batch 1977, as Foreign Secretary vice MS Sujatha Singh with a tenure of two years from the date of assumption of charge or until further orders, whichever is earlier, in keeping with the provisions of FR-56(D),” the announcement said.

60-year-old Jaishankar, son of late K Subrahmanyam, one of India’s leading strategic analysts, was a key member of the Indian team which negotiated the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal.

Among other positions, Jaishankar has been India’s High Commissioner to Singapore and Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

In the past, another Foreign Secretary A P Venkateswaran was sacked by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who made the sudden announcement at a press conference, leading to a huge controversy and a strong protest by the Foreign Service.

Inputs with PTI