Jaswant Singh (3 January 1938-27 September 2020) was an Indian army officer and politician. He was the co-founder of Bhartiya Janta Party.

Early Life

Jaswant Singh was born on 3 January 1938, in Jasol, Rajasthan, India. During his time in Ajmer, he studied at Mayo College before joining the Khadakwasla National Defence Academy. From 1957 to 1966, he served in the Indian Army as an officer. He’s still interested in defence issues. In the past, he was a member of the Defence Services Institute, the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, and the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

In 1966, he left his job and joined politics. When he ran for election in 1967, he was unsuccessful as an independent candidate. A few years later he met Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In 1980, Singh was elected to the Rajya Sabha and started enjoying political success.

Political Career

In 1996, at the beginning of Vajpayee’s first term, the party formed the government at the Centre, but it didn’t last long. During the short time, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet made him the union finance minister.

In 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister of India for the second time.  In the Vajpayee government, Singh was appointed as the minister of external affairs from 5 December 1998 to 1 July 2002. During this phase, relations with Pakistan reached a low point. It started with the Lahore bus diplomacy, then the Kargil War, then the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 to Kandahar.

Singh became India’s Minister of Defence in 2000, after George Fernandes resigned after he was convicted in the Tehelka case and forced to resign.

After Vajpayee’s government fell and then, he was appointed as Leader of Opposition of the Rajya Sabha from 2004 to 2009.

In 2012, he was nominated as Vice-President for the NDA. In the presence of national Democratic Alliance leaders, Singh submitted his nomination papers on 20 July. His nomination was announced by the NDA on 16 July. On 6 August, he met with All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Jayalalithaa and Biju Janata Dal leader Naveen Patnaik and asked for their support. As UPA’s Vice presidential candidate, he lost to Hamid Ansari, who got 490 seats and received 67.31% of the votes.


Singh suffered a serious head injury after falling in his bathroom on 7 August 2014. He was treated at India’s Army Research and Referral hospital in Delhi. Until his death in 2020, he was in a coma for six years.

He died on 27 September 2020 New Delhi, India

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