Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

The Politics of History: India and China, 1949-1962

September 15, 2014


Nirupama Rao assumed her responsibilities as Ambassador of India to the United States in September 2011, a position she held until November 2013. Prior to that, Rao was appointed Foreign Secretary, the highest office in the Indian Foreign Service, where she served a two-year term until July 2011. Rao has served previously in Washington in the capacity of Minister for Press and Cultural Affairs at the Indian Embassy from 1993 to 1995. She has also served in Moscow as Deputy Chief of Mission at her country's embassy there, in the late nineties. On return to New Delhi, she was designated as Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in 2001, the first woman Indian Foreign Service officer to hold this post.

Rao joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973. In a diplomatic career spanning four decades, she served in various world capitals, including Washington, Beijing and Moscow. Rao acquired extensive experience in India-China relations, having served in the East Asia Division of the Ministry at policy level capacities for several years, and later serving as India's first woman Ambassador to China from 2006 to 2009. Her other ambassadorial assignments include Peru and Bolivia, and Sri Lanka (where also she was India's first woman High Commissioner).

Rao was a Fellow at the Centre for International Affairs (now the Weatherhead Centre) at Harvard University in the early 1990s. She was also a Distinguished International Executive in Residence at the University of Maryland at College Park in 1999-2000. Currently, she is a Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellow with the Brown-India Initiative, conducting research for the book she will be writing while at Brown, which focuses on the evolution of the relationship between India and China from 1949-1962.

Friday, September 19 at 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute

Reception to follow.