Why India sacked its Foreign Secretary abruptly?

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  • Sujatha Singh removed mysteriously after Obama’s visit
  • PMO sources says Sujatha was suspected of divulging to media over Modi’s blunder during US President’s visit
  • Ajit Doval was very much annoyed over MEA interfering in his plan for Obama’s trip
  • Some circles see Jaishankar replacing Sujatha as a move to have a China specialist on the slot for future plans
  • Jaishankar also considered as the key member of team that initiated the Indo-US civil nuke deal

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From Anjali Sharma

special-reportNEW DELHI- Indian government removed its Foreign Secretary, the head of bureaucracy at the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday, in a very abrupt manner, leaving many with a question that what blunder had the MEA committed during the recent visit of the US President that caused the MEA its Secretary’s sudden exit and that too in the most unceremonious manner?

The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that the Sujatha Singh’s removal actually originated from the office of the National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval. These investigations indicate that it was a report published in The Daily Mail titled ‘India’s MEA red-faced over Modi’s blunders’, citing anonymity requesting sources at the MEA, in which it was stated that the MEA officials were very much put off and embarrassed as the entire tour conducting policy for the visit of the US President was drafted by NSA Ajit Doval, bisecting the MEA’s protocol guidelines and related suggestions.

Very well placed and  highly credible sources at the PMO say that a very strong letter was received at the PMO from NSA on Wednesday morning , after the State visit by the US President was concluded.  In this letter NSA had advised the PMO for immediate removal of the Foreign Secretary as according to the intelligence reports, received by the NSA office, she was found propagating, as an unnamed source of the MEA to the foreign media about the sort comings on Indian side in hosting the US President’s visit in accordance with prescribed State Protocols and MEA’s set guidelines. “ Shiri Doval was very furious throughout the visit over the constant interference of MEA officials into the program plan, organized by the NSA’s team for the visit hosting and handling. At many occasions, during the State banquets, he snubbed MEA officials for one reason or the other and these snubbing were confronted by Foreign Secretary,” the sources said. These sources say that soon after the visit was over, NSA sent a letter to the PMO along with an inquiry report by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in which it was stated that the preliminary investigations had indicated that the Foreign Secretary had been divulging over the “so-called” loopholes in the visit and thus she has to be removed with immediate effect to ensure positive end results of the visit. Upon this, the PMO sent an immediate note to the Department of Personnel and Training in the late night, much after the official working hours both at the PMO and the MEA had ended. To a question, the sources said that since the Prime Minister was very busy in taking briefings from different department heads over the US President’s visit, the files from NSA and other offices were presented to him relatively late and that was why the PMO decision in this direction also came a bit too late.

Sujatha Singh has been replaced by a veteran Indian Foreign Service official Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Some circles here in New Delhi are of the view that the immediate change at the office of India’s Foreign Secretary has been brought by the PMO as Premier Modi is now looking forward to initiate rebuilding of ties with People’s Republic of China and thus he wanted to have a China specialist on the slot as Jaishankar had a rather glorified tenure in China as Indian envoy just a couple of years back. Some other circles are of the view that since New Delhi government desires to steam up the civilian nuclear deal with the US through immense diplomatic initiative, thus the PMO has immediately decided to appoint Jaishankar who was key member of the basic team that initiated the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear deal almost a decade back.

The Daily Mail’s report, citing anonymous MEA sources over the US President’s visit was as under:

India’s MEA red-faced over Modi’s blunders

NEW DELHI–India’s officials of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) were seen red faced as Indian Premier continues to make blunders during US President Barack Obama’s India visit.

US President Barack Obama in IndiaVery well placed and reliable sources in the MEA, on condition of not to be quoted told The Daily Mail  that MEA officials and especially the officials from the Protocol Wing of the Ministry and those from the US Desk are reported to be very annoyed and deeply embarrassed as their Prime Minister opted to ignore their guidelines of protocol for conduct during the US President’s visit and instead preferred the suggestions, made by hardcore Hindutva activist and handpicked National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval. “Even the Foreign Minister Madame Sushma found herself extremely helpless in motivating the Premier to follow the MEA’s protocol guidelines during Obama’s tour. Ajit Doval is a former cop and a veteran intelligence specialist. He is far, far away from diplomatic norms and State-level protocol. He runs everything and every show with an intelligence perspective. It was his suggestion as the NSA to PMO that an expression should be conveyed by the Prime Minister during the US President’s visit that both, the Indian Prime Minister and US President, are very close friends and enjoy very casual relations without official formalities. It was Doval who suggested that Prime Minister should address the US President with his first name “Barack” while the MEA had clearly submitted that the US guest must be addressed as Mr. President or Mr. Obama. But Doval’s suggestion was taken by the PMO. It was highly embarrassing when the US President responded to again and again use of Barack by our Prime Minister by saying that though I and Mr. Prime Minister know each other for a very little time, yet we are good friends. This was actually a very polite reminder by the US President to our Prime Minister that the necessary protocol be maintained. At no occasion, the US President has so far addressed our Prime Minister as Modi or Narendra but kept addressing him as Mr. Prime Minister or using other titles that are part of State Protocols,” said the sources. The sources also said that mentioning of holding very occasional off the cuff chit chat with US President by Indian Premier was also a shocker for the MEA and was not appreciated by the concerned US officials of visiting President’s delegation. He said that apart from these issues, many other blunders were made by the Indian Premier during delegation level talks and during different State banquets. The MEA sources say the entire visit of the US President was hosted and conducted completely to the contrary of MEA but with a typical ‘desi’ style to the intelligence-based plans of NSA as MEA was even against receiving of the US guest at the airport by Prime Minister himself as Indian Prime Minister was received by an Under Secretary level official of the Obama government during his last year’s visit to the US.

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