S. Jaishankar (PTI file)
S. Jaishankar (PTI file)

Opinion | The return of technocracy

Jaishankar is regarded not only as a foreign policy maven, but also a sharp strategic mind with a clear view of a complex world full of divergent interests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has overturned perceptions of being anti-technocracy by inducting former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar into his new Cabinet as the Union minister for external affairs. This lateral induction of a career diplomat has been widely welcomed. For a government that has been trying to get various domain experts into the ranks of the bureaucracy, this signals an emphasis on expertise as a criterion over the usual considerations.

Jaishankar is regarded not only as a foreign policy maven, but also a sharp strategic mind with a clear view of a complex world full of divergent interests. As an officer of the Indian Foreign Services, he was among those closely involved in the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal of 2008 that New Delhi struck with the U.S. under the Manmohan Singh government. Under the Modi government, he reportedly helped find a way out of the 2017 Doklam crisis at our border with China. Armed with almost three decades of diplomatic experience, he has been our ambassador to Beijing as well as Washington, and this qualifies him well to help New Delhi pursue India’s interests overseas as a cold war gets underway between China and the U.S.

The world is currently in geopolitical flux, and we need someone in the foreign ministry who combines political acumen with diplomatic dexterity. Modi’s choice of Jaishankar suggests the government is ready to put the country’s best resources at work in a field no country can afford to ignore. It also comes as a rebuke to those who feared we’re turning too inward for our own good.

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