Former EAM, Sushma Swaraj, passed away on Tuesday evening leaving behind a big void in India’s political arena. During her four decade long remarkable career and especially as the External Affairs Minister, she left a huge imprint on Indian diplomacy.
She transformed Indian missions to be the ‘house of people’ and initiated a strong connect that was unprecedented. Her involvement with Indians settled abroad sent out a big message to them – that their country values them.
Her instant tweets to help were confidence boosters for Indians that the government was listening to them. She had an endearing personality that automatically created a bond with her countrymen.
Here is a NewsMobile Special – tributes penned by senior diplomats for Sushma Swaraj, with whom they shared a special and irreplaceable bond. Do read and share this NewsMobile special.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla (Now Foreign Secretary of India)
“All those who worked with the former EAM were fortunate in having her fullest support. I have been privileged to know her since she was Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha where I had to brief her on a regular basis on our relations with our neighbours.
Subsequently, as EAM, she visited both countries where I served as Ambassador. I recall one instance of a regional Heads of Missions conference in Hanoi when the then EAM sat through an entire day of tedious presentations and briefings, yet in her concluding remarks, she was able to succinctly summarize interventions by each and every participant.
An incredible level of recall, comprehension and sheer brilliance. Her qualities of the heart are equally well known. She personally supervised the rescue and return of Sonu, a young Indian boy, from Bangladesh where he was traced after being abducted. An inspiring leader and wonderful minister, her passing away represents a great loss for the country and for all of us. The Indian Foreign Service, in particular, owes her a special debt of gratitude for her leadership over the last five years and her steadfast support for and consistent faith in its ability.”
– Former India’s permanent representative at the UN
“Having had the privilege of working with Smt. Sushma Swaraj for long so many memories rush to mind.
Perhaps most vivid was her visit to the UN in 2016, despite the her frail physical condition. Not many know that despite health issues she came to the UN General Assembly in September 2016 traveling all the way so as to reach New York in time for India’s statement & returning immediately thereafter.
That visit personified the grit & determination behind her soft-spoken & graceful demeanour. Her willingness to put India’s interests before the personal well being at all times will remain for all of us diplomats an inspiration to put our best foot forward in difficult situations.”
– India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Former Secretary, West, MEA
“How does one even begin a tribute to a personality like Sushma Swaraj! Do we remember her steely determination and the can-do spirit with which she approached challenges or the warm and soft human being whose genuine affection won over even her opponents? She never spared slackness and demanded absolute commitment and showed the way by putting in enormous hard work herself. She was always prepared for every meeting.
Extremely intelligent, logical, a very sharp memory and easy command over both Hindi and English. She was bold, courageous and decisive. I recall a particularly difficult election for which she sat for hours lobbying for our case with interlocutors and stayed up until the early hours of the morning to see India’s victory.
But with all these wonderful qualities, for me, she stands out as a superb human being. She was genuinely caring of everyone. I often wondered how she found the depth of emotion to care for so many people whom she hadn’t ever met. She remembered everyone by name and put people at ease with her warm and open smile. A generous and loving heart that had a place in it for everyone. A true leader, she is being missed by millions.”
– Former Indian Foreign Secretary and Indian Ambassador to the US and China
“To me, she epitomised grace combined with formidable grit, eloquence leavened with admirable erudition. She was a feminist who wore her feminity with no trace of arrogance or entitlement. She was a true original. To know her and interact with her was a privilege I am so thankful for.”
– Former Secretary East, MEA, Former Indian Ambassador to Italy & Thailand
“With the passing away of Sushma Swaraj India has lost one of its most intelligent, humane and caring politicians. She was one politician who reached out to all across party lines, and across all divides. She has a razor-sharp and incisive mind and an ability to find solutions to issues and the gumption to carry out her tasks and responsibility with the utmost ability. She will leave behind a host of admirers and many heartbroken individuals whose souls she touched. She backed merit and her own ability to the hilt. The BJP has lost a strong pillar whose loyalty to the party and the organization and whose void will be difficult to fill.”