In the 1970s Swaminathan was aided in his efforts to improve Indian farming by the country's prime minister, Indira Gandhi, who gave him free rein to reform India's agricultural bureaucracy and in 1979 named him principal secretary of India's Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.
"Gandhi was a strong nationalist," Swaminathan recalled, as quoted in Time International. "She wanted an independent foreign policy, and food was a political weapon."
During the cold war years, Indian foreign policy tilted away from the United States and toward the Soviet Union, but Swaminathan avoided political controversies.
He traveled the globe energetically, visiting the United States many times, and his top priorities were agricultural development and humane agricultural policies.
In 1974 he chaired the U.N. World Food Congress, held in Rome, Italy.
To be continued ...