By: Pramod Thomas
INDIA on Thursday (13) renamed two important institutions in honour of the late external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, a cultural centre reflecting India’s connect with its diaspora, was renamed Sushma Swaraj Bhavan and the Foreign Service Institute, where diplomats are trained, was renamed the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service, a statement from Ministry of External Affairs said.
The government’s decision came a day before her 68th birth anniversary.
Swaraj had served as the Indian Minister of External Affairs under Prime Minister Narendra Modi from May 2014 to May 2019.
She died on August 6, 2019, following a massive cardiac arrest. She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, posthumously in 2020 in the field of Public Affairs.
“The announcement is being made on the eve of her birth anniversary falling on February 14 in honour of the legacy and decades of public service of the former external affairs minister,” a statement said.
Swaraj was one of the most followed foreign ministers on Twitter globally. She had many firsts to her credit — the youngest cabinet minister in the Haryana government, the first woman chief minister of Delhi and the first woman spokesperson for a national political party in the country.
She was Information and Broadcasting Minister in the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1996 and got the Cabinet portfolio again after he led the BJP to power in 1998.
Sushma Swaraj also was the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009-14.