The Minister of External Affairs (or simply, the Foreign Minister, in Hindi Videsh Mantri Hindi pronunciation: [ ʋɪdeːʃə məntriː ]) is the head of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India. One of the senior-most offices in the Union Cabinet, the chief responsibility of the Foreign Minister is to represent India and its government in the international community. The Foreign Minister also plays an important role in determining Indian foreign policy. Occasionally, the Foreign Minister is assisted by a Minister of State for External Affairs or the lower-ranked Deputy Minister of External Affairs.
India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also held the Foreign Minister post throughout his 17-year premiership of the country; he remains the country's longest-serving Foreign Minister. Several other Prime Ministers have since held the additional charge of foreign minister, but never has any other cabinet minister held additional charge of the office. There have been a number of Foreign Ministers who went on to become the Prime Minister like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, P. V. Narasimha Rao and I. K. Gujral.
In this article, the reader will find only short references to Kashmir, a problem of a very different nature and rather unrelated to the issue of communal relations. The Kashmir question, debated since 1946, has been the source of three wars between India and Pakistan. As of today (in fact since 1987), it concerns also the will expressed by a number of Kashmiris to seek autonomy or even independence for their state (refer to the biography of Sheikh Abdullah ). Regarding the Hindu - Muslim relationships as such, they have always been rather harmonious. The tragedy today concerns the Kashmiri Brahmins (pandits), the only Hindu caste existing in Kashmir, who had to vacate their properties when the present war started (Noorani 1964; Madan 1981; Puri 1981; Akbar 1991b; Hurtig 1993; Racine 2002; Noorani 2011). 2b1af7f3a8