India

Indian media: Top diplomat 'sacked'

Sujatha Singh Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sujatha Singh was appointed as India's top foreign service diplomat in August 2013

Media in India highlight the government's "surprising" decision to remove foreign secretary Sujatha Singh from her post.

Ms Singh was appointed as India's top foreign service diplomat in August 2013.

India's ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar, has now been appointed as Ms Singh's replacement.

"The government on late Wednesday evening announced the abrupt 'curtailment of tenure of foreign secretary Sujatha Singh with immediate effect' - a not very polite way of saying it was sacking her eight months before she was due to retire," reports The Times of India.

Observers say the manner of Ms Singh's dismissal is not common.

"She is the first foreign secretary to be removed unceremoniously after [former prime minister] Rajiv Gandhi removed AP Venkateswaran in 1987," says the Hindustan Times.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption S Jaishankar was India's ambassador to the US

Papers say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "admired" Mr Jaishankar's abilities and the role he played in organising US President Barack Obama's recent Delhi visit.

"It was long known in the power corridors that Mr Modi had become an admirer of Mr Jaishankar's expertise, especially as both the US and India moved quickly towards a summit in the early months," says The New Indian Express.

Mr Jaishankar is known for handling "tricky" diplomatic issues.

He played a crucial role in removing roadblocks to ensure the signing of the India-US nuclear deal.

The US and India on Sunday announced a breakthrough on a pact that would allow American companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology.

He has previously served as India's ambassador to China, Singapore and the Czech Republic.

Stealth submarines

In some international news, India has made a "proposal" to Japan to build stealth submarines in India, The Times of India reports.

"With Japan recently ending its decades old self-imposed arms export embargo, Delhi has forwarded 'a proposal' to Tokyo to 'consider the possibility' of making its latest diesel-electric Soryu-class submarines in India," the paper reports.

Japan, if it accepts the proposal, may have to collaborate with an Indian shipyard for the project, the paper adds.

Other countries such as France, Russia, Germany and Spain could also be interested, it suggests.

Arrest over Charlie cartoon

And finally, the editor of an Urdu-language newspaper has been arrested in Mumbai for reprinting a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed, which was originally published in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the Hindustan Times reports.

The complainant, Nusrat Ali, had registered a case against the editor, Shireen Dalvi, 15 days earlier, the police said.

Ms Dalvi was released on bail after she was taken to a local court following the arrest, the police added.

Gunmen attacked the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris earlier this month and killed 12 people, including eight journalists. The dead included the magazine's editor.

The magazine had angered some Muslims in the past by printing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The offices were firebombed in 2011.

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