Jaswant Singh Biography
Jaswant Singh is a well-known Indian politician and a member of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). Jaswant Singh is one of the few Indian politicians to have been the Minister for Defence, Finance and External Affairs. He is currently the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, from July 2004 onwards. Jaswant Singh was born on 3rd January, 1938 in the village of Jasol in the Barmer district of Rajasthan, India.
He is the son of Late Thakur Sardar Singhji and Shrimati Kunwar Baisa. Over the years, Jaswant Singh has finely molded his political career into a successful and productive one, besides maintaining a well-balanced family life comprising of his wife, Sheetal Kumari and two sons.
After completing his education and training from institutions like Mayo College in Ajmer and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, he went on to serve as an officer in the Indian Army during the 1960’s. Jaswant Singh entered active politics in 1980, after he was elected to the Rajya Sabha, and since then has held important positions during his political tenure. However, the most significant posts that Jaswant Singh has held were those of:
Minister of Finance, Government of India, (May 1996- June1996) and again in (July 2002-May 2004), switching posts with Yashwant Sinha, under the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was instrumental in shaping and introducing market-friendly reforms of the government.
Minister of External Affairs, Government of India, (Dec. 1998 – July 2002). He was instrumental in his dealing of foreign policy during the high-tension situation between India and Pakistan. He was succeeded by Yashwant Sinha.
Minister of Defence, Government of India, (Mar2001 – Oct2001), as a simultaneous charge, due to his predecessor, George Fernandes’s resignation owing to the infamous Tehelka exposure.
Minister of Electronics, (Feb1999 – Oct 1999), simultaneous charge.
Minister of Surface Transport, (Aug1999-Oct. 1999), simultaneous charge.
However, Jaswant Singh is highly regarded in the Indian political scenario for his effective geostrategy and smooth handling of relations with the United States. The Indian Nuclear tests in 1998 had strained international relations, triggering the ghost of NPT and reforms like the CTBT. However, with his brilliant diplomacy he successfully negotiated with the United States, which resulted in the making of the historic Indo-US Nuclear Deal. Today India is a nuclear weapons state, and a nation committed to the principles of the U.N. Charter, promoting regional peace and stability.
Besides politics, Jaswant Singh is also an esteemed author, even contributing to newspapers, journals and magazines, both Indian and foreign alike. Some of his publications include ‘National Security – An Outline of Our Concerns’, ‘Defending India’, ‘Defendre L’inde, (in French)’, ‘Shauryam Tejo (in Hindi)’, and his recent book in 2006, titled ‘A Call to Honour – in Service of Emergent India’.
For the immense contributions made by him during his tenure, Shri Jaswant Singh was bestowed with the ‘Outstanding Parliamentarian Award’ for the year 2001.