The new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, appears to be planning a narrow, crisp and business-like South Block vessel, cut off from the pomp, display or ceremony of the past by individuals familiar with the subject.
Just 10 days ago Premier Narendra Modi shocked politicians and officers by appointing the career diplomat to be Minister of Foreign Affairs,and it is recognized that Jaishankar has told Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and four more secretaries not to accompany him on formal visits to their headquarters.
Though officers of the South Block are tightly moved on the Minister, Jaishankar appears to have the same management as US Secretary Mike Pompeo and Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kano and only co-secretaries who accompanied the Minister on foreign trips are worried.
“Jaishankar seems to be serving as the Foreign Ministry CEO (Chief Executive Officer), and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs is COO (Chief Operating Officer).
That Jaishankar, a former foreign secretary, plans to wear his title light was evident when he travelled to Bhutan’s capital Thimpu on June 7 by a commercial flight, rather than an Embraer jet of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) VIP squadron.
It is learnt instructions have been issued that the new minister would prefer to travel by commercial airlines for visits abroad, unless India plans to keep a visit discreet or the destination is not served by commercial flights.
It is learned that, unless India plans to maintain a discrete visit or the destination does not receives business flights, the new Minister would prefer to travel by business flights for trips overseas.
Although, before the unveiling of the new Constitution in Nepal in September 2015, Nepalese leadership was not on the same page as the previous foreign secretary when Modi went to Kathmandu as Super Envoy.It was not a one-sided move, as many believed clear directions to guarantee that no part of Nepalese culture is being left out were sent from the top.
Jaishankar, as Minister, should make further efforts towards its neighbors, especially Nepal, and also guarantee the significance of South Asia’s enormous electoral mandate for Modi.Given that in January 2018 he demitated the office of Foreign Secretary, Jaishankar does not involve the senior government’s speaking points or country-specific briefings. For the next three months, the individuals say, no major changes are anticipated in the Ministry.