Speaking at an event to discuss the book Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery in New York, Jaishankar said that PM Modi dialled him past midnight to inquire about the situation in Afghanistan, after an Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in the war-torn country was attacked in 2016.
New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership quality as he recalled a surprise call from him past midnight after an Indian consulate in Afghanistan came under attack a few years ago.
“It was past midnight, and our consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, was under attack. And we were using phones, trying to figure out what happened. All of this was happening and you are juggling phones, trying to keep everybody updated. And then, 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. His first question was – Jaage ho? (Are you awake?)…achaa tv dekh rahe ho (are you watching TV)…toh kya ho raha h waha (what’s happening there?),” Jaishankar said.
The minister said that when he informed PM Modi that help was on its way, he asked to be apprised personally when the situation is normal.
“I told him that it might take a couple of more hours and that I would call up at his office (PMO) when it’s over. To this, the Prime Minister responded – ‘Mujhe phone kar dena’ (Call me),” Jaishankar said.
Praising PM Modi’s sense of responsibility during such a situation of crisis, the EAM said, “To handle the consequences of very big decisions, that is a singular quality.”
Jaishankar is in New York to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. He has also held several bilateral and trilateral meetings with envoys and heads of states from around the world on its sidelines.
The External Affairs Minister also recalled his first meeting with the Prime Minister.
“I frankly liked Mr Modi before I met Mr Modi. I am on some levels, as many would complain, a micromanager. I can be quiet a pain. But the level of preparation he had done was commendable,” Jaishankar said.
He also recounted India’s evacuation efforts from Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last year.