'Deeply missed': Jaishankar, Rajnath pay tribute to Sushma Swaraj on her 69th birth anniversary

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday fondly remembered his predecessor Sushma Swaraj on her 69th birth anniversary and said she is “deeply missed” always.

“Fondly remember Sushma Swaraj ji on her birthday. Deeply missed, always,” Jaishankar tweeted along with a photograph of him with Swaraj.

Fondly remember Sushma Swaraj ji on her birthday. Deeply missed, always. pic.twitter.com/itw2vZjUkg
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 14, 2021

Jaishankar had served as India’s foreign secretary for around three years when Sushma Swaraj was the external affairs minister in the previous NDA government.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh too paid a glowing tribute to Swaraj, saying she contributed significantly in strengthening India’s stature within the country and abroad.

In a tweet in Hindi, he said Swaraj was an eloquent orator and a strong personality as well as an example of simplicity.

“Her contribution to public life will be remembered. On the occasion of her birth anniversary, I am paying tribute to her,” he said.

Swaraj, who brought a rare empathy and a human approach to India’s diplomacy as external affairs minister, died on August 6, 2019, following a massive cardiac arrest.

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She was known for helping distressed Indians abroad as she was quick to respond to their calls for help on Twitter.

Swaraj had many firsts to her credit — the youngest cabinet minister in the Haryana government, the first woman chief minister of Delhi and the first woman spokesperson of a national political party in the country.

She was Information and Broadcasting minister in the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1996 and got the Cabinet portfolio again after he led the BJP to power in 1998.

As external affairs minister, Swaraj brought a sense of assertiveness to India’s diplomacy and engaged the diaspora as part of the country’s foreign policy priorities.