Jaswant Singh

Occupation:

Politician

Designation: Former Finance and Defence Minister of India
Institution / Org:

Bharatiya Janata Party

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Jaswant Singh (born January 3, 1938) is an Indian politician and member of parliament from Darjeeling parliamentary constituency. He is from the Indian State of Rajasthan and was an officer in the Indian Army in the 1960s and is an alumnus of Mayo College and the National Defence Academy (India), Khadakwasla. He served as Finance minister in the short-lived government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which lasted just from May 16, 1996, to June 1, 1996. After Vajpayee became Prime Minister again two years later, he became Minister for External Affairs of India, serving from December 5, 1998 until July 1, 2002. Responsible for foreign policy, he dealt with high tensions between India and Pakistan. In July 2002 he became Finance Minister again, switching posts with Yashwant Sinha. He served as Finance Minister until the defeat of the Vajpayee government in May 2004 and was instrumental in defining and pushing through the market-friendly reforms of the government. Known for his moderate political views, he is a self-described liberaldemocrat even though the Bharatiya Janata Party is often described as a right-wing nationalist organization. He was conferred the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for the year 2001. On 19 August 2009, he was expelled from BJP after criticism over his remarks in his book Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence.

Career

He is one of the few Indian politicians to have been the Minister for Defence, Finance and External Affairs.He started the new government of Vajpayee, which lasted its full term, as the External Affairs Minister and later on switched his ministry to Finance with Yashwant Sinha. He was also the Defence Minister when George Fernandes was forced to resign after the Tehelka exposure.Mr. Singh is widely regarded for his handling of relations with the United States which were strained after the1998 Indian nuclear tests but which ameliorated soon after culminating in the visit of U.S. President Clinton to India. His skill as a negotiator and diplomat during talks with the United States has been well acknowledged by his U.S. counterpart Strobe Talbott.

Controversy hovered around him again when on 17 August 2009 another book of his titled Jinnah India-Partition-Independence was released in which he claimed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's centralised polity was responsible for partition. He was later expelled from the primary membership of BJP as a result of the ensuing controversy. In interviews with media he quoted BJP as narrow-minded and to have limited thought. His book was later banned in Gujarat. Singh said of the ban "The day we start banning books, we are banning thinking.


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Viqar ( Oakville,Canada) Monday, December 28, 2009 7:13:41 PM (MDT - USA)
Great interview, I would like congratulate Dr. M Pirzada for his effort

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