Jaswant Singh

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Jaswant Singh is an MP from the parliamentary constituency of Darjeeling. He was born on January 3, 1938 and is originally from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. During the 1960s he served in the Indian Army as an officer.

Singh has studied at the Mayo College and The National Defense Academy (India), Khadakwasla. He has operated as the Finance Minister when Atal Bihari Vajpayee started his first term as the Prime Minister between May 16, 1996 and June 16, 1996.

When Vajpayee’s second term as a PM started a couple of years later, he served as the Minister of External Affairs in the Union Cabinet from December 5, 1998 till July 1, 2002. His primary area of function was foreign policy and the tense relations between India and Pakistan were among his major areas of focus.

Jaswant Singh again became the Union Finance Minister in 2002 when he switched posts with Yashwant Sinha. He operated in this capacity till May 2004 when the Vajpayee government was defeated in the nationwide elections.

Jaswant Singh: Rewards and Recognitions

As the Union Finance Minister, Singh was well known for clearly stating and then implementing economic reforms, which were aimed at helping with the improvement of the Indian markets. He has moderate views and describes himself as a liberal democrat. He has received the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2001.

He is among the selected group of Indian politicians who have taken care of the Defense, External Affairs and Finance ministries. Singh took over the defense ministry when George Fernandes had to tender his resignation after the Tehelka case.

A major achievement of Singh was his management of Indo-US relations that were on a downward curve following the nuclear tests of 1998. However, things soon improved when the then US President Bill Clinton visited India.

Strobe Talbott, who has served as the US Deputy Secretary of State during Singh’s tenure as an External Affairs Minister, regards him as a highly skilled diplomat and negotiator – something that came to the fore during the Indo-US talks during that time.

He is also one of the most prominent members of the Bharatiya Janata Party who does not have any previous association with the RSS.

Jaswant Singh: Controversies

Singh has been criticized by several political parties for personally taking terrorists to Kandahar where they were freed in lieu of hijacked passengers of the Indian Airlines plane.

He faced further problems with the release of his book entitled "Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence” on August 17, 2009. In this book he held the centralized policies as the main reason behind the partition of India.

The BJP threw him out of the party later in the year because of the controversy surrounding the book. At the media interviews in that time he had stated that the party was narrow minded and its thoughts were limited.

The book was later on barred in Gujarat as well, a decision that was criticized by Singh. The BJP called him back into the party in 2010.

Last Updated on 2/22/2012