Wednesday, January 13, 2016

BoI Power List 2015: Why foreign secretary S Jaishankar is India’s 3rd most powerful bureaucrat

Jaishankar with minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj
THE way Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in S Jaishankar, the topper of 1977 batch IFS, as India’s foreign secretary in January end, 2015, by virtually sacking 1976 batch incumbent officer Sujatha Singh, says it all – Jaishankar is influential, powerful, talented and preferred to his peers to anchor India’s diplomacy. BoI in its assessment has found, Jaishankar is the…
3rd Most Powerful Bureaucrat, 2015, in BoI Power List, 2015. We have already published that bureaucrats with sizeable Twitter followers get 4th position and West Bengal’s Sanyal, Chhattisgarh’s Aman Singh, Assam’s Bhanu jointly get the position  of India's 5th most powerful bureaucrat, 2015.
In fact, during the UPA-II, the then National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the then principal secretary to PM Pulok Chatterji favoured Jaishankar, not Sujatha Singh as the foreign secretary, but the PMO then did not want to take risk and create yet another controversy by appointing a junior officer at the top, particularly when Ms Singh wrote a letter to the PM saying she would quit the service if any of her juniors was given the top post.
Modi reportedly zeroed in on Jaishankar from the day 1 of his assuming office in May 2014, but the IFS officer, then serving as India’s ambassador to US, was reluctant to join as an adviser in PMO, mainly for two reasons. First, such a post is considered only for a retired officer, and secondly, his occupying such a post in the PMO would have created two power centers, the other being foreign secretary based out of the ministry of external affairs (MEA).
But Modi’s interests and priorities of external affairs (PM has made 37 foreign trips on five continents so far) has helped Jaishankar to prove himself and come even closer to the PM. He has been a shadow with the PM in all foreign visits, and if India has dramatically improved its relations with US, from the lows of Devyani Khobragade episode, the credit must go to Jaishankar who was India’s envoy to US after Khobragade, a 1999 batch IFS, was strip-searched and humiliated in New York in a case of alleged visa fraud and underpaying of a domestic help, forcing India to take a number of measures to curtail undue privileges extended to US diplomats.
That India has stabilized its relations with China and improved its ties with European powers such as UK, France and Germany, is a big success for Jaishankar and his core team. For the record, France, United States, Nepal, Russia, Singapore are the countries Modi has visited twice as the PM so far.
A product of St Stephen’s college, Jaishankar’s PhD specialization was nuclear diplomacy. As a joint secretary in the MEA, he also played a key role in the run-up to the Indo-US nuclear deal, 2008, a reason why he could make a mark during the Manmohan regime too. Later, he was made India’s envoy to China. So, he was the head of Indian mission both in US and China before taking over as the foreign secretary of the country.
Jaishankar will remain the top diplomat of the country till January 2017, as foreign secretary gets a fixed two-year-term. But being a pet officer for PM Modi, he is likely to continue playing a key role in Modi’s inner circle till 2019. It’s no rocket science to presume that Jaishankar could be India’s next national security adviser once Doval gets a Raj Bhawan assignment.
Also Read
4th Most Powerful Bureaucrat
5th Most Powerful Bureaucrat


  1. Hello viewers,

    Please note that there won't be any IRS in this power list. Everyone forgot Mr. K.V.Chowdary CVC, India. And IRS ofcourse has no power !


  2. Dear Sir, Have you stopped fearing IRS ? Btw, You forgot to write your Name ! Write your name and see the power by yourself..

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    I am so scared of IRS. Please don't try to find out my name. I don't want to experience IRS current shock.