New Delhi: Speaking at an event in New York, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar recalled an incident from 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally called him past midnight and asked if he was awake.
“Jaage ho (are you awake)?,” was his first question, Jaishankar said, while lauding PM Modi’s leadership.
The External affairs minister, who was the Foreign Secretary then, was recalling the incident when an Indian consulate at Mazar-i-Sharif in war-torn Afghanistan was attacked in 2016.
Jaishankar was speaking at an event to discuss the book ‘Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery’ in New York on Thursday. He is in New York to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“It was past midnight and our consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan was under attack. We were trying to figure out what happened and my phone rang. It took me a bit by surprise. When the Prime Minister calls… you don’t get a caller ID but still someone connects you. But this time it was the prime minister,” said Jaishankar.
Recalling the incident, he further said, ‘The prime minister asked, ‘If I’m awake. It’s 12.30 (a.m.), what else will I be doing rather than being awake?’ Because in his life that’s probably natural,” he said, while praising PM Modi for his leadership role.
The Prime Minister further asked him whether he was watching TV. “Yes sir, I said. On being apprised that help was on its way, PM Modi asked to be informed personally when the operation is over. I said this will take two-three hours more and I will inform your office (PMO) when it’s over,” said Jaishankar.
“‘Call me’, asserted the Prime Minister,” said the Foreign Minister, praising his sense of responsibility.
Talking about his role during the Covid crisis, Jaishankar said at the event, “If you look at how leaders around the world handled Covid – not everybody stepped up or said I’d take that call. To handle the consequences of very big decisions is an extremely singular quality.”