Profiles of Ministers in External Affairs Ministry
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Untitled DocumentSmt. Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs Minister)

Sushma SwarajSushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of India, was born on 14 February 1952 in Ambala, Haryana. She has been elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. She is an Advocate by profession and educated at S.D.College, Ambala Cantt (Haryana) and Department of Laws, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Political Career :
Mrs Sushma Swaraj began her political career with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1970s. She became a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly and a Cabinet Minister in Haryana at the age of 25 in 1977 and held 7 portfolios. She became State President of Janata Party (Haryana) in 1979, when she was 27. She was Education Minister, Haryana in the Bharatiya Janata Party–Lok Dal coalition government during 1987–90.

In April 1990, she was elected as a Member of the Rajya Sabha and remained there until she was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from South Delhi constituency in 1996. She was Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting in the first Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government in 1996. She was re-elected to 12th Lok Sabha from South Delhi Parliamentary constituency for a 2nd term in 1998. In the second Vajpayee Government, she was sworn in as Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting with additional charge of the Ministry of Telecommunications from 19 March to 12 October 1998. She resigned from the Union Cabinet to take over as the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi in October 1998. 

She resigned her Assembly seat to return to national politics and was Minister for Information & Broadcasting from September 30, 2000 to January 29, 2003 and Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs from January 2003 until May 2004. 

Mrs Swaraj was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 2006 from Madhya Pradesh. She served as the Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha till April 2009. She won the 2009 election to the 15th Lok Sabha from the Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh and became Leader of Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha on 21 December 2009 and retained this position till May 2014. She has been re-elected to 16th Lok Sabha from Vidisha in 2014.

Smt Swaraj has held following positions during her political career :

1992-94 Chairperson, Joint Committee on Catering
Member, Committee on Government Assurances, Rajya Sabha
1994-96 Chairperson, Committee on Petitions, Rajya Sabha
1996-98 Member, Committee on Defence 
Chairperson, Sub-Committee on Upgradation and Modernisation of Naval Fleet
Member, Committee of Privileges
Aug 2004-2009 Chairperson, Committee on Home Affairs, Rajya Sabha
Member, Business Advisory Committee, Rajya Sabha
Member, General Purposes Committee, Rajya Sabha
Sep 2004-2009 Member, Ethics Committee, Rajya Sabha
Oct 2004-2009 Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Defence
May 2006-2009 Member, Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health
May 2008-2009 Member, House Committee, Rajya Sabha
31 Aug 2009- 1 Jan 2010 Chairperson, Standing Committee on External Affairs
23 Sep 2009- Member, Rules Committee
07 Oct. 2009 - Member, Committee on Ethics
21 Dec 2009 - 18 May 2014 Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha

Personal life
Sushma Swaraj is married to Swaraj Kaushal, a senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and a criminal lawyer who served as Governor of Mizoram from 1990 to 1993. Swaraj Kaushal was a Member of Parliament from 1998 to 2004. They have a daughter, Bansuri, who is a graduate from Oxford University and a Barrister at Law from Inner Temple.

General (Retd) Vijay Kumar Singh ( Minister of State for External Affairs)

General Retd Vijay Kumar SinghGeneral (Retd) Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM was born on 10 May 1951 in Bapora village, Bhiwani district in Haryana. An alumnus of Birla Public School, Pilani and National Defence Academy, he served as the 26th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

Military career:
General (Retd) Singh was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of The Rajput Regiment (Kali Chindi) on 14 June 1970. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington with a competitive vacancy. He is also a graduate of US Army Rangers Course at Fort Benning, USA and US Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

General (Retd) Singh was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) for distinguished service while commanding a counter-insurgency force. He has also been awarded with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal by the President of India in recognition of his exceptional and distinguished services on the eve of Republic Day 2009.

He became Chief of Army Staff on 31 March 2010 and retired from the position on 31 May 2012.

Political career:
General (Retd) Singh joined the Bhartiya Janata Party on 1 March 2014 and successfully contested Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad constituency.

Honours and Awards :
On 11 March 2011, Singh was inducted into the United States Army War College (Class of 2001 graduate) International Fellows Hall of Fame. He is the 33rd International Fellow and the first Indian Armed Forces officer to be inducted.

  • Param Vishisht Seva Medal
  • Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
  • Yudh Seva Medal
  • Ranger Tab
General Singh is married to Mrs. Bharti Singh and they have two daughters.

Shri M. J. Akbar was born on 11th January 1951 in Telinipara, West Bengal. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in English at the Presidency College in Kolkata. He is married to Smt. Mallika Akbar and has two children, a daughter, Mukulika and a son, Prayaag.

Shri M. J. Akbar is a distinguished writer who has authored several internationally acclaimed books, mainly on the Indian subcontinent's complex history and the turbulent interaction between faith and definitions of nationalism. They include India: The Siege Within; Nehru: The Making of India; Kashmir: Behind the Vale; The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity; Tinderbox: the Past and Future of Pakistan; and Blood Brothers, a novel. In addition, there have been four collections of his columns, reportage and essays. His books have been translated into many languages.

His contribution to contemporary debate has been widely acknowledged. Among other things, in 2004, he was named a member of the Forum of Islamic Scholars and Intellectuals set up by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to draft a ten-year charter for Muslim nations at a special conference in Mecca. In March 2006, he joined The Brookings Institution in Washington, as a Visiting Fellow in the Brookings Project on U.S. Policy towards the Islamic world. He also serves as Chairman of the trust for the Calcutta Muslim Orphanage.

Shri M. J. Akbar has also had an illustrious career as a journalist and editor. In 1976, he launched, as Editor, India’s first weekly political news magazine, Sunday, which quickly became a household presence. He started two daily newspapers: The Telegraph in 1982 and The Asian Age in 1994. He has served as the Editorial Director of India Today, Headlines Today and as the editor of the Deccan Chronicle and The Sunday Guardian.

Shri M. J. Akbar entered public life in 1989, when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kishanganj, Bihar. He went back to media in 1993, and returned to public life in March 2014, when he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and became the party’s national spokesperson. He was elected as MP to the Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand in July 2015. In July 2016, he was elected for another term as MP from Madhya Pradesh.

He assumed charge as the Minister of State for External Affairs on July 6, 2016.

A brief sample of reviews indicates the acclaim for his books:

"I was soon captured by the tale and kept on reading it with interest. It is a fascinating and wonderfully written story. I enjoyed it very much,”-Dr. Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State, United States, on "Blood Brothers

"How graphically and skillfully the real problems are described…the book is likely to have a considerable influence both in India and Britain” -Michael Foot on "India: The Siege Within: Challenges to a Nation’s Unity


"A skillfully crafted family saga down three generations packed with information of events in the country and the world, particularly changing Hindu-Muslim relations. It could be a textbook on how to write, mix fact, fiction and history. It is beautifully written; it deserves to be in Category A1” - Khushwant Singh on "Blood Brothers”.

"An unbelievably sophisticated work that is terribly daring... An innovative and lucid religious history of ideology, idolatry, betrayal and violence”-Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winner, on "The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity

"...I have rarely come across a book that contains so much of everything that Islam has given to the world, told so artistically with the creative ability for which Akbar is famous. No wonder the book has created a storm both among the intellectuals and in the marketplace here and abroad” - Dr Rafiq Zakaria on "The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity

"To understand the complex forces - religious, political, and historical - that have fuelled the fervor for Jihad, read this book”- Fareed Zakaria on "The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity

"A truly magnificent book.... should be read by every Indian who is concerned about the unity of his country"- Prof. Ravinder Kumar on "Nehru: The Making of India