Indian government removes top foreign ministry official

The Indian government has fired its top foreign ministry official, replacing her with its current ambassador to the United States.

S. Jaishankar took over as India's new foreign secretary on Thursday, describing his elevation as "a big responsibility."

The government on Wednesday cut short Sujatha Singh's tenure by six months without giving a reason.

The Indian Express newspaper said Jaishankar was rewarded for turning around India's ties with Washington — organizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington in September and then implementing Modi's idea of having President Barack Obama be the chief guest for India's Republic Day celebrations this week.

The Indo-U.S. ties suffered a set-back after Devyanai Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, was arrested in December 2013 on visa fraud charges.