Sushma Swaraj was one of the tallest leaders in the Bharatiya Janata Party, very well known for her effective articulation and communication. She was the youngest women chief minister of the Delhi government, she was the first National women Spokesperson of the national political party, she was also the youngest cabinet minister in Haryana Government. She also held the position of the Leader of the opposition. She was a very well established leader in the BJP before becoming the External Affairs Minister in Modi Government. She won her respect across the political parties in India. She has been a trendsetter in whatever work she has undertaken.
She became the External Affairs minister in the first Modi Government in 2014. As expected, she set the standards very high. She used her excellent communication skills, political knowledge, compassionate nature with an easily accessible approach to reach those standards. She brought in three groundbreaking changes in the Ministry of External Affairs.
First, she converted the Indian Consulates across the world as a Home away from Home for the so far neglected Indian Diaspora. She made sure the consulates and the people in the consulate offices took great care on every issue that was brought to them by personally monitoring the cases directly via the Madad Portal.
She ensured that consulates take extraordinary care for vulnerable NRIs like workers in the middle eastern countries and students. She understood the diverse needs of the Indian diaspora and made sure that no Indian in the foreign land felt alienated.
Secondly, she undertook a humongous task along with PMO to make sure Government of India establishes direct connect with Indians in every country by personal visits of top leadership of India— President, Vice President, PM or EAM. This was unprecedented for any previous Indian governments who only went for official business and hardly ever met common Indian community.
The unprecedented outreach paid unparalleled dividends. The personal outreach by the top leadership, helped India score major victories in the International relations. India earned huge victories at the United Nations, International Court of Justice and many other International bodies.
When Dalveer Bhandari got re-elected to the International Court of Justice, everyone was surprised by such great support for India from more than 180 countries and India able to deliver victory at ICJ. It was pure hard work and unprecedented reach of Sushma Swaraj that delivered these kinds of victories.
Thirdly, she used technology, especially social media to rescue Indians who were stranded in various parts of the world. She ensured their safe return home, whether they were stranded in war-torn areas in the middle east or facing the challenges in other parts of the world. She not only helped in evacuating Indians from war zones but also helped many countries like the USA in evacuating their citizens from dangerous war zones with her diplomacy.
She helped Modi Government in dealing with very sensitive foreign relations of India with nations like Pakistan and China. She was the person behind India’s Act East Policy. She was instrumental in solving the Doklam issue for India.
She also showed her sensitive side and raised many eyebrows when she gave medical visas to many of the Pakistani people who needed treatment in India. Personally, Mrs. Swaraj encouraged and invited NRIs to visit India for Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2019 in Varanasi to witness the positive change Modi Government brought in the lives of the common man. NRIs turned out in unprecedented numbers for PBD 2019.
During the event, she personally took care of every NRI as a special guest. She elaborated later to NRIs, how extensively they have planned for NRIs for almost 7 days. She arranged for special trains and prepared special food just for NRIs and ensured the Junior EAM —VK Singh was with NRIs throughout the journey from PrayagRaj to Delhi. Such was the care taken by Sushma Swaraj, no less than any mother. Many NRIs today feel that Indian External Affair Ministry will not be the same without her. Most of them feel that she did ensure the security for NRIs that EAM will always be there for any eventuality irrespective of which foreign land you are in.
Sushma Swaraj left a legacy that is hard to match. Every Indian —whether in India or outside will always remember her fondly for her care for Indians, her diplomacy, Indian causes and making Indian consulates people friendly and easily accessible.