Sushma Swaraj, the Indian Minister of External Affairs was named a ‘2016 Global Thinker’ by Foreign Policy magazine for her 'novel Twitter diplomacy'.
Swaraj’s name featured in the ‘decision makers’ category along with the names of other world-renowned leaders such as US Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The major credit of the Minister’s inclusion in the list goes to her prompt twitter responses since she took office. The magazine recalled a particular instance when Swaraj had tweeted about the huge food crisis faced by thousands of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia due to sudden job layoffs. Swaraj had treated the situation with great swiftness, launching a week-long operation on social media, giving migrants all the required information that would keep them properly fed and get them back home safely.
The magazine especially praised Swaraj for her ability to reach out to people abroad, be it Indians or non-Indians. From helping Indians evacuate from war-torn Yemen to more recently providing a passport to an Egyptian woman suffering from a rare disorder so that she can get her treatment done from India, the Minister has immediately come to the rescue of those seeking her help.
Apart from Swaraj, other Indians to feature in the Foreign Policy list are Gursaram Prasad Talwar and Anupama and Vineet Nayar. While Talwar is an immunologist who has developed a vaccine for leprosy, Anupama and Vineet are co-founders of Sampark Foundation, who have been selected for their work towards revamping of rural India’s primary education system with the help of basic teaching tools.