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Govt renames two prominent institutes after Sushma Swaraj

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New Delhi: The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, a cultural centre reflecting India's connect with its diaspora, was Thursday renamed Sushma Swaraj Bhavan in honour of the late external affairs minister.

The Foreign Service Institute, a renowned institution where diplomats are trained, has also been renamed the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service.

The government's decision to name the two institutions after Swaraj came a day before her 68th birth anniversary.

Sushma Swaraj died on August 6 last year following a massive cardiac arrest.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said the two institutions have been renamed in solemn tribute to the "invaluable contribution" of Swaraj to Indian diplomacy, the cause of the Indian diaspora and the ethos of public service.

"The announcement is being made on the eve of her birth anniversary falling on February 14 in honour of the legacy and decades of public service of the former external affairs minister," it said.

Swaraj had many firsts to her credit -- the youngest cabinet minister in the Haryana government, the first woman chief minister of Delhi and the first woman spokesperson for a national political party in the country.

She was Information and Broadcasting minister in the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1996 and got the Cabinet portfolio again after he led the BJP to power in 1998.

Long seen as a protégé of veteran BJP leader L K Advani, she also was the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009-14.

Swaraj, a law graduate who practiced in the Supreme Court, was elected seven times as a member of Parliament and three times as a member of the legislative assembly.

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