Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj welcome Subrahmanyam Jaishankar as he took charge as the new foreign secretary on Jan. 29, 2015.IANS

The government on Tuesday appointed Subrahmanyam Jaishankar as the foreign secretary replacing Sujatha Singh. The move was mired in controversy as the opposition Congress raised questions on Singh's sacking and the timing of the changes.

The BJP government sacked Singh seven months ahead of the end of her tenure and appointed Jaishankar, who just had two days to retire as the Indian ambassador to America. Jaishankar took charge of the officer from Thursday morning.

The decision also came just a day after US President Barack Obama flew back to the US, concluding his three-day visit on Tuesday. Congress leader Manish Tewari took to Twitter on Wednesday questioning the timing of the changes made in the external affairs ministry.

"Is sacking of foreign secretary late retribution for her stand on Devyani Khorbode affair? Removal after a Presidential visit "coincidental"?" Tewari had tweeted.

The late night announcement on Tuesday said that the decision was taken in keeping with the provisions of FR-56(D), which states that a government servant shall retire from the service on the afternoon of the last day of the month in which he attains the age of sixty years.

"Appointment of S Jaishankar, IFS batch 1977, as foreign secretary vice MS Sujatha Singh with a tenure of two years from the date of assumption of charge or until further orders, whichever is earlier, in keeping with the provisions of FR-56(D)," PTI cited an excerpt from the announcement.

However, The Times of India reported that Modi was unsatisfied with Singh's work and wanted her removed from the position, but it was foreign minister Sushma Swaraj who wanted her in the office.

This decision was taken in a meeting of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.

Who is Jaishankar?

Jaishankar is the Indian Foreign Service Officer from the batch of 1977 and has an experience of over 36 years in the foreign services.

He was serving as the Indian ambassador to United States since 23 December, 2013. Prior to this, he was the Indian ambassador to China from 2009 to 2013, high commissioner to Singapore from 2007 to 2009 and ambassador to Czech Republic from 2001 to 2004.

Jaishankar was born on 9 January, 1955 in New Delhi to prominent Indian strategic affairs analyst, civil servant, commentator and former consulting editor of The Times of India K Subrahmanyam.