India’s first full-time woman Foreign Minister Current Affairs - 2019

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Fact Box: Sushma Swaraj

Former Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest in New Delhi. She was 67, She had started her political career under Janata Party and was elected to the Haryana assembly in 1977 and became a state minister at age 25.

About Sushma Swaraj

She was born on 14 February 1953 at Ambala Cantonment, Haryana. Her father Hardev Sharma was a prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member. She was lawyer by profession and had practiced in the Supreme Court. She had started her political career as active member of Jayaprakash Narayan’s anti-Emergency movement and later she became a member of Bhartiya Janata Party. She was a seven-time Member of Parliament and a three-time MLA (representing Ambala Cantonment assembly seat from 1977 to 1982 and had won for first time at age of 25).

Many firsts to her credit: (i) Youngest Cabinet Minister (age) in Haryana Government in 1977, (ii) first woman Chief Minister of Delhi in 1998 (iii) first woman spokesperson for any national political party in the country and (iv)India’s first full-time woman Foreign Minister.

Important offices held: She was External Affairs Minister (from 2014 to 2019), leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (from 2009 to 2014), Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government (2000-2003), Minister of Health and Family Welfare ( anuary 2003 to May 2004), Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (January 2003 to May 2004) and 5th Chief Minister of Delhi (from October 1998 to December 1998).

Tenure as External Affairs Minister: She was second Indian woman to become External Affairs Minister, after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ( However, it was not full-time portfolio).

Contributions: She had played key role in resolving the Doklam standoff with China in 2017 and in India approaching International Court of Justice (ICJ) challenging Pakistan military court’s death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav. Through her extensive use of Twitter, she had earned reputation of easily-accessible External Affairs Minister. She took personal interest in resolving minor issues like issuance of visa to the needy and helped Indian diaspora in distress through her social media outreach.