Two new ministers of state, Meenakashi Lekhi and Rajkumar Ranjan Singh assumed charge in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, a day after they were inducted into the union council of ministers as part of a massive reshuffle.
With the induction of Lekhi and Singh as MoS in the MEA, the number of deputies to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has increased to three. V Muraleedharan, an MP from Kerala, has already been serving as a deputy to Jaishankar.
Both Ms Lekhi and Mr Singh were welcomed at the headquarters of the MEA by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
Mr Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to Moscow took to Twitter to welcome the two ministers to the MEA.
“Delighted to welcome @M_Lekhi and @RanjanRajkuma11 to #TeamMEA. Confident that together, we will promote India”s interest abroad effectively (sic),” the external affairs minister said.
While Ms Lekhi is an MP from Delhi and Mr Singh is a parliamentarian from Manipur.
“Welcome new Minister of State to Team MEA! Meenakashi Lekhi takes charge as Minister of State for External Affairs,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
He also posted another tweet welcoming Mr Singh to the ministry.
In her brief comments, ms Lekhi thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President J P Nadda for giving her the responsibility.
India has been attempting to play a bigger role at the global stage and the appointment of the two junior ministers in the MEA appears to be in sync with it.