Chang­ing of the Guards

Southasia - - Briefing -

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.

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