Indian Vascodagamian (because he loves leaving Indian shores frequently) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the full command of Indian foreign policy since his coming into power last year. Modi has visited 25 countries in 16 months – this is his second ongoing visit to the USA. It seems India’s Ministry of External Affairs has been put into the background and Modi is on the forefront of every foreign visit. Despite he making headlines alone, there is a foreign policy team who assists the PM on every ground in making his foreign tours a success. Let’s take a look on Modi’s foreign policy team.
1. Sushma Swaraj – Minister of External Affairs
She is the second woman to hold Minister of External Affairs post after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She is best known for one of the best spoken leaders and her diplomatic skills. She has been elected 7 times as a Member of Parliament (MP) and by profession she practiced law as a Supreme Court of India lawyer from 1973. She was elected as the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi in 1998, but resigned in the same year. Previously, she was appointed as Union Cabinet Minister of Information and Broadcasting by then PM Vajpayee government in 1998. The most notable decision during her tenure was to declare Indian film production as industry which made it eligible for the bank loans.
As a foreign minister her primary task is to implement Modi’s foreign policy initiatives. ‘Fast track diplomacy’ – what she termed her tenure after completing her 100 days as a minister last year. According to her, this catchphrase has three faces – proactive, strong and sensitive. The second initiative ‘Act East Policy’, continuing the former PM Rao’s initiative ‘Look East Policy’ for better engagement with ASEAN countries, she has emphasized on more proactive role of India in this region.
The alleged involvement of her into helping Indian fugitive Lalit Modi in cricket scandal damaged her clean image much but defended well in the Parliament debate. Indian Media sometimes refers her as Hilary Clinton in the context of India.
2. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar – Foreign Secretary
He has been appointed as the foreign secretary of India for a tenure of two years on Jan 2015. Jaishankar has an experience over 36 years in the Foreign Service. Prevously, he served as Indian ambassador to China, Singapore, the USA and Czech Republic in the past. He played a significant role in negotiating the Indo-US nuclear deal. He also played an important role in improving trade and cultural relations with China during his four and half year tenure. It is said that much success of Modi’s US visit relies on this diplomatic genius man who is a prominent supporter of a strong Indo-US relations. He has done his PHD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University where he specialized in nuclear diplomacy.
3. Ajit Doval – National Security Adviser
Ajit Kumar Doval is the fifth National Security adviser to PM Modi since 30 May, 2014. Previously, he was the director of the Indian Intelligence Bureau till 2005. His profile is more like a filmy spy agent who traveled across the borders to strengthen the Indian national security interests. For example, it is said that he was an undercover agent for 7 years in Pakistan. He was also the architect for creating counter-insurgency movement – countering anti-Indian insurgents in Kashmir. He played a crucial role in insuring safe returning of 46 Indian hostages kept in Tikrit, Iraq, in June 2014. India’s first foreign soil covert operation on Myanmar’s soil in June 2015 to target insurgents disturbing India’s peace in Manipur, it is said that he was the mastermind behind this precision attack. He graduated with a master degree in Economics in 1967 and became an IPS officer from the 1968 batch of the Kerala cadre. In his contribution to national security and a successful track record, has motivated the Indian PM to make him as his national security adviser.
Every successful leader needs an efficient team and Modi’s team is just providing what he needs. So far India’s engagement at the world level has at least created a sense in the outside world that now New Delhi means business.
|Nachiket Nishant loves to write on issues related to politics and international affairs. He has done his masters in international relations. Currently, he is a lead policy researcher at The Indian Iris.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of The Indian Iris and The Indian Iris does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.