29/01/2015 11:25 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

Sujatha Singh Sacked, S Jaishankar Takes Charge As New Foreign Secretary

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY SHAUN TANDON 'US-INDIA-DIPLOMACY-IMMIGRATION-POLITICS'India's Ambassador to the US Subrahmanyam Jaishankar speaks during an interview with AFP at the Indian Embassy in Washington on January 31, 2014. India has warned the United States of consequences for its companies if lawmakers tighten visa rules on high-tech firms as part of an immigration overhaul. Jaishankar said that India would see a decision to restrict certain temporary visas for skilled workers as a sign that the US economy is becoming less open for business. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI - S Jaishankar today took charge as Foreign Secretary, replacing Sujatha Singh whose tenure was abruptly "curtailed" late last night.

"Government's priorities are my priorities," said Jaishankar, a 1977-batch IFS officer, describing his new position as an "honour and a big responsibility".

Singh was not present when Jaishankar took charge at the South Block office. He will have a two-year tenure as per rules.

Before his sudden appointment as Foreign Secretary, the 60-year-old diplomat was India's Ambassador to the US. He had also been posted as Ambassador to China, Singapore and Czech Republic.

The decision to appoint Jaishankar, who played a key role during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US in September and US President Barack Obama's just concluded visit here, was taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Modi.

Singh had taken over as the third woman Foreign Secretary in August, 2013 and had eight more months to serve.

Jaishankar, son of late K Subrahmanyam, one of India's leading strategic analysts, was a key member of the Indian team which negotiated the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal.

Jaishankar had only two days to go for his retirement.

A terse official statement issued here late night said the tenure of Singh has been "curtailed" with immediate effect. Official sources indicated that Singh was not being given any other assignment by the Government.

A new Ambassador to the US is being shortly appointed, the sources said.

In the past, another Foreign Secretary A P Venkateswaran was sacked by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who made the sudden announcement at a press conference, leading to a huge controversy and a strong protest by the Foreign Service.