Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, only the third woman to hold the job, was dismissed by the government on Wednesday. The exit comes six months before her two-year term was to end.
S Jaishankar, current ambassador to America, has been appointed the new foreign secretary (FS), only three days before he was scheduled to retire.
Singh is from the 1976 batch and Jaishankar from the 1977 batch of the Indian Foreign Service. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took the decision. "Curtailment of tenure of Ms Sujatha Singh as Foreign Secretary with immediate effect," the decision stated. It added Jaishankar had been appointed in her place.
In 1987, A P Venkateswaran, the then foreign secretary, quit a year after assuming office, when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi told a media conference - and in his presence - that they'd soon be talking to a new FS.
Singh was appointed in August 2013. The then government was divided over the choice, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh preferring Jaishankar and others favouring Singh. Finally, seniority was relied on to appoint her.
She is the daughter of former Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeshwar, a former Indian Police Service officer, who was Director of the Intelligence Bureau during the Rajiv Gandhi years.
Jaishankar has served as an ambassador to Beijing. He had also played a key role in inking of the India-US civil nuclear agreement. His father, K Subrahmanyam, was a civil servant and a renowned strategic affairs analyst.
Singh had never served in any of India's missions in the neighbourhood. Jaishankar was India's ambassador to Beijing before moving to Washington DC.