Changing of the Guards
S.M.Krishna, Foreign Minister of India, recently announced his retirement. Many suggest that Krishna is paving the way for the younger generation to enter into politics and steer the country ahead of the elections in 2014. New faces are expected to enter the Cabinet while the reshuffling process takes it final form.
Elected in the Assembly election in Karnataka in 1962, Krishna served as an MP several times since 1968 and later served as the chief minister from 1999 to 2004. He was regarded an influential figure in the Indian Cabinet with his marginal impact on foreign policy and often took leading position on relations with Pakistan. Analysts suggest that Krishna was reluctant to work with the challenges he faced in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
In an unprecedented turn of events, Salman Khurshid of Uttar Pardesh, was named as Krishna’s successor. According to media sources, Rahul Gandhi and Anand Sharma, Indian Commerce Minister, were leading favorites before Khurshid was appointed as the first Muslim Foreign Minister in 16 years. It is believed that Khurshid will play an instrumental role in paving the relationship with Pakistan. His appointment is a clear attempt by the Prime Minister to correct the image of a crumbling government.
The reshuffle process also saw the inclusion of 22 federal ministers. Khurshid is however, the most prominent inclusion, replacing Krishna at a time when India expects to take a step forward in strengthening ties with Pakistan.