the elections. The award is named after former foreign secretary and ex-governor of Rajasthan SK Singh who died in 2009. During Indira Gandhi era, Singh was the spokesperson of the foreign office, and then during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister, Singh was India’s high commissioner to Pakistan. And during those days, Singh’s family became close to that of Gandhi’s. Singh’s younger son Kanishka Singh is a political aide to Rahul Gandhi.
On Thursday, vice-president of India Hamid Ansari presented the SK Singh award to diplomat George for his outstanding services rendered to Indian citizens in Saudi Arabia who have been going through a tough time in that oil rich Gulf country. While addressing the gathering that included foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and many other top diplomats of the country, vice-president Ansari said that foreign services across the world have many “unknown and unsung heroes, unlike in the home civil service where quantifying the indicators of achievement is relatively easier”. In fact, diplomacy is a métier which is best practiced in the quiet. “A successful diplomat is one who performs his mandated tasks with discretion and without much visibility. The very nature of the job is such that confidentiality, at times, coupled with geographical distance, makes it difficult for the public at large to appreciate the tremendous work done by diplomats in foreign lands and even at headquarters,” said Ansari who himself retired as a diplomat before becoming the nation’s vice-president.
Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presented this award to a 1991 batch IFS officer Tanmaya Lal at a function held in 7 Race Course, the PM’s official residence. As BoI reported in an article dated January 23, 2013, PM specially thanked IFS officers’ wives because “serving abroad and frequent relocation also require great support and sacrifices from the families, who often do not get the requisite acknowledgement.”