Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, is set to address the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York at 7:30 pm IST, and all eyes are on what she will say.
Swaraj is the second woman after Indira Gandhi to be sworn into the position. She has a number of firsts under her belt: she became the country’s youngest Cabinet Minister in 1977, at the age of 25, and became the first female spokesperson of a national political party.
She has become an online phenomenon, and is the most followed female leader in the world on Twitter, with over 6 million followers, according to a survey conducted by Burson-Marsteller.
Her social media account is particularly effective since she uses it as a powerful tool for action.
Here are ten reasons why she makes such an effective and successful leader:
1. Personal Initiative
Apart from giving her time to India’s bigger foreign policy issues, Swaraj goes out of her way to personally help many distressed citizens.
She uses her twitter account to help and contact those in need. The most recent example is her promise to extend the visas of a British couple in Mumbai, so that they can wait for the U.K to issue their daughter, Lily who was born through surrogacy in India, a passport.
2. Quick to take action
When someone asks her for help, she is quick to reply. Madhu a migrant girl from Pakistan was finding it difficult to obtain admission in an Indian school as she did not have her previous School Leaving Certificate or Birth Certificate from Pakistan with her.
She helped resolve the matter and Madhu was granted admission at a government school.
3. Hard working and result oriented
She constantly looks for areas of improvement. She realized that there is a lack of data on Indian students studying abroad, so she implemented a Students Registration module to track these numbers.
4. Determined and Resilient
When she was the Minister of Telecommunications, under the Vajpayee government in 1998, she declared film production as an ‘industry’ thereby opening it up to institutional finance, and releasing it from the clutches of loan sharks.
Even when she cannot help somebody, she acknowledges them and their problems. When people thank her, she has said that she does not need thanks, and that ‘ it is [her] duty towards our country and countrymen,’ as she has tweeted.
After wrestler, Vinesh Phogat, suffered from a ligament tear prompting her to drop out from the Rio Olympics quarter final wrestling match, Swaraj reached out to her and offered her much needed words of comfort.
“Vinesh- you are our daughter. Ask for anything you require,” she said
6. Good communicator
Apart from maintaining an active online presence, Swaraj is known for her diplomatic skills and follow through. She has held round-table meetings with Indian heads of missions to SAARC, ASEAN and Middle East after taking her position.
She speaks fluent Hindi and English and was unabashed as the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. In 1999 she competed against Sonia Gandhi from Bellary, and even learned how to speak Kannada.
7. Rescue Missions
Her ministry rescued 168 Indians who were held hostage in Basra, Iraq. They also rescued 4,640 Indians from Yemen during the Yemeni Crisis in 2015. Many countries also sought India’s help to rescue their nationals, and the Indian Armed Forces and the Ministry of External Affairs also rescued 960 foreign nationals.
She is responsible for repatriating many other Indians from abysmal situations abroad.
8. The Opposition acknowledged her work
In a dog eat dog political climate, it is rare for any member of the opposition to offer their praise. However, Aam Admi Party’s Bhagwat Mann, and Dharamveer Gandhi thanked Sushma Swaraj, saying that she is doing a good job in her rescue missions for Indians abroad.
9. Her sense of humour
Throughout her work she manages to maintain a positive, and light-hearted attitude which draws even more people to her.
Check out this quote from twitter:
I would have definitely joined the Army. But at that time women were not allowed in the armed forces. Now they say I am overage.
And when someone asked her to help with their refrigerator problems, she wittily replied “Brother I cannot help you in matters of a Refrigerator. I am very busy with human beings in distress.”
10. Her capabilities speak for themselves
She was reportedly in the anti-Modi camp when he was declared campaign committee chief in 2013, her appointment to her position after he became Prime Minister, speaks of her talent and capabilities.