S Jaishankar is among several BJP leaders who retained their ministries.

New Delhi:

S Jaishankar officially assumed office as India’s Foreign Minister today. Mr Jaishankar, 69, was among several senior BJP leaders, including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, and Nirmala Sitharaman, who retained their respective ministries from the previous administration.

Discussing India’s relationship with Pakistan and China for the next five years, Mr Jaishankar said the two countries pose different challenges. 

“In any country and especially in a democracy, it is a very big deal for a government to get elected three times in a row. So the world will definitely feel that today there is a lot of political stability in India,” Mr Jaishankar noted. “As far as Pakistan and China are concerned, the relations with those countries are different, and the problems there are also different. Our focus with regard to China will be on finding a solution for the border issues and with Pakistan, we would want to find a solution to the issue of years-old cross-border terrorism.”

Mr Jaishankar assumed office in Delhi after a grand swearing-in ceremony, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the oath of office along with 71 ministers of the new coalition government.

On being questioned about the Maldivian parliamentary probe on previous agreements with India, Jaishankar responded diplomatically, reflecting his seasoned approach: “I had a meeting with President Muizzu and even PM Modi met him. I even had the honour to call on him. So I will prefer to be guided by my experience and conversation.”

Ties between India and the Maldives came under severe strain since President Muizzu, known for his pro-China stance, took charge of the top office. Within hours of his oath, he had demanded the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from Maldives. The Indian military personnel were replaced by civilians earlier this month.

Addressing India’s ambitions for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in the next five years, Mr Jaishankar said India’s position as a “friend” and the Modi government’s foreign policy will take the country to greater heights. 

“It has different aspects and I am fully confident that under PM Modi’s leadership, the foreign policy of Modi 3.0 will be very successful. For us, the influence of India has been steadily growing, not just in terms of our own perception but also what the other countries think. They feel that India is truly their friend and they have seen that in times of crisis, if there is one country that stands with the Global South, it is India. They have seen that when we put forward the African Union membership during the presidency of G20, the world trusted us and our responsibilities are also increasing, so we also believe that under the leadership of PM Modi, India’s identity in the world will definitely increase,” Mr Jaishankar said. 

Mr Jaishankar has served as India’s Foreign Secretary under the first Modi government (2015-18) and held ambassadorial roles in the United States (2013-15), China (2009-2013), and the Czech Republic (2000-2004). Additionally, he was India’s High Commissioner to Singapore (2007-2009) and has had assignments in embassies in Moscow, Colombo, Budapest, and Tokyo, along with roles in the Ministry of External Affairs and the President’s Secretariat.

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