Noting that he comes from a family of bureaucrats and that the political opportunity as a union minister came as a bolt from the blue in 2019, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that his father Dr K Subrahmanyam was removed as Secretary, Defence Production, by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi soon after she came back to power in 1980.
He said during the Rajiv Gandhi period his father was replaced with someone junior to him becoming the Cabinet Secretary.
External minister Jaishankar talked about his journey from foreign service to politics and said he had always aspired to be the best officer and get elevated to the post of Foreign Secretary.
Jaishankar served as Foreign Secretary from January 2015 to January 2018 and previously held key ambassadorial positions in China and the United States. His father, K Subrahmanyam, was one of India’s most prominent national security strategists and died in 2011.
“In 1980, he was Secretary, Defence Production. In 1980 when Indira Gandhi was re-elected, he was the first Secretary that she removed. And he was the most knowledgeable person everybody would say on defence,” he said.
Jaishankar said his father was also a very upright person, “may be that caused the problem, I don’t know”.
“But the fact was that as a person he saw his own career in bureaucracy, actually kind of stalled. And after that, he never became a Secretary again. He was superseded during the Rajiv Gandhi period for somebody junior to him who became a cabinet secretary. It was something he felt…we rarely spoke about it. So he was very, very proud when my elder brother became secretary,” said Dr Jaishankar.
Jaishankar said he became a Secretary to the government after his father passed away.
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