Foreign secretary Subramanyam Jaishankar’s growing clout with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is creating serious disquiet among other secretaries and senior diplomats in South Block.
Handpicked by Modi on the eve of his retirement, Jaishankar is now said to be using his growing closeness with the PM to ‘pick and choose’ areas that would allow him to maintain a high profile. Much of this, it is alleged, is naturally happening at the cost of senior colleagues in the ministry of external affairs, particularly the three other secretaries, all of whom are now looking for an opportunity to be posted out of headquarters.
Apart from the foreign secretary, the MEA top brass comprises three other secretaries—secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa, secretary (West) Navtej Singh Sarna and secretary (Economic Relations) Sujata Mehta.
“All secretaries are equal. The foreign secretary is only first among equals,” observes Vivek Katju, himelf a retired MEA secretary.
Jaishankar’s appointment at the end of January had created a...