NEW DELHI: In a surprise move, India on Wednesday replaced Foreign Secretary Sujhata Singh with a diplomat who was due to retire at the end of the month, The Hindu said.
It quoted sources as saying that Mr Jaishankar was chosen for his role in rebuilding India-US ties after the Devyani Khobragade incident, capped by the visit of US President Barack Obama to New Delhi this week.
Senior officials told The Hindu that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been particularly impressed by Mr Jaishankar’s handling of his visit to the US in September and had been keen to retain him.
Mr Jaishankar is in Delhi for consultations after the Obama visit, and while confirming the news to The Hindu, made no comment.
According to the notification on the Department of Personnel and Training website that was posted late last night, the Appointments Committee “approved the curtailment of tenure” of the current Foreign Secretary Sujhata Singh.
Ms Singh had been given an extension which would have seen her tenure in normal course to August 31 this year.
Sources confirmed to The Hindu that after the notification, Ms Singh has put in her papers and sought voluntary retirement.
It is also unclear whether the sudden move will upset other officers in the Ministry of External Affairs, in the manner the surprise appointment of the foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon that had seen several officers resign in protest in 2006, did.
Prior to his assignment in Washington, Mr Jaishankar had served as Ambassador to China, and was credited by former PM Dr Manmohan Singh for his deft handling of tensions between New Delhi and Beijing over the LOC in 2013, report said.