A major change has been made by the Centre in a 95-year-old rule to give one-year extension in service to Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
The appointments committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday extended services of the Foreign Secretary for one year, i.e. till January 28, next year, beyond his two-year fixed tenure ending Sunday.
The personnel ministry amended a provision of Fundamental Rules, 1922, to pave way for the extension, official sources said.
At present, service rules provides for two-year fixed term for foreign, defence and home secretaries in addition to Central Bureau of Investigation director.
The rules have been amended to include that "the central government may, if considers necessary, in public interest, so to do, give an extension in service for a further period not exceeding one year beyond the said period of two years to the Foreign Secretary".
A 1977-IFS batch officer, Jaishankar was appointed Foreign Secretary on January 29, 2015 just few days before his retirement replacing Sujata Singh, whose term was abruptly curtailed by the government.
With Jaishankar getting the extension, many senior diplomats including India's Ambassador to Italy Anil Wadhwa (1979-batch) and Secretary (West) Sujata Mehta (1980-batch) will retire without getting a shot at the top position.
India's Ambassador to China, Vijay Gokhale, seen as one of the main contenders to replace Jaishankar, is retiring in the end of January 2019.