New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) Former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh Saturday said she was getting a lot of messages of support from her colleagues in the ministry of external affairs after she was abruptly relieved of her post three days ago.
In her second television interview in as many days after her tenure was “curtailed” Wednesday night, seven months before the two-year term was to end, Singh also termed as “complete nonsense” media reports claiming the Prime Minister’s Office was miffed with her over some policy decisions.
“All the men and women who have been sending me messages of support and thanks, I have received a lot of support from colleagues, in emails, messages and phone calls,” Singh told Headlines Today.
Singh, who was replaced with S. Jaishankar, India’s envoy to the US, said she is proud of many of the things she has done during her tenure as foreign secretary.
“Many things I am proud of, I gave the administration a humane face, gave transparency to the system, I used to talk to the officers,” she said.
She said she did not think that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in any way unhappy with her work and she used to interact frequently with him, sometimes thrice a day.
She also said when she was sounded out about three weeks ago for another job with a tenure, she refused saying “I said the day you want me to go, tell me I will put in my papers.”
She said when the Modi government reshuffled the secretaries of the previous government, there was a “mood of uncertainty” around, but refused to elaborate.
On her relations with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Singh said she had “good relations with the EAM, I was loyal to her and we understood each other quite well”.
She termed as completely untrue media reports saying the Modi government did not want to go ahead with the vote against Israel, saying there had been no change in the policy vis-a-vis Israel or Palestine.
She wondered who was “leaking” such information as “I don’t leak information, I don’t believe in giving journalists access to classified information or defaming anyone”.
Singh said when the government at its swearing in decided to invite the SAARC leaders on May 26 last year and BJP leader Arun Jaitley asked her about it, she said she told him it is a great idea and started working towards making it a success.
Singh also said she told the prime minister to go to Bhutan for his first bilateral trip. “Bhutan was my idea,” she said adding that so was the Japan trip.
“I can’t think of a single idea that was shot down,” she said.
She also dismissed media reports saying that then prime minister Manmohan Singh was keen to appoint Jaishankar as foreign secretary in 2013 but had to go by her as Congress president Sonia Gandhi had backed the appointment.
She said Manmohan Singh is known for his reticence and wondered how then his purported views on Jaishankar could have found such wide media play.
She said on Jan 28 night she wrote in her resignation letter that she was seeking early retirement “as instructed by the prime minister”. Singh said she was also asked if she would like to meet him, but declined.
“I did what I had to do, and it is over with”, she said, adding that she wanted to go “with my reputation intact and my record unblemished” and not be maligned by the media.
She said she had been planning for the heads of missions conference next month and had thought of putting up a plaque for the officers killed in Kabul.