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Ambassador Shivshankar Menon joins Brookings as Distinguished Fellow in Foreign Policy

June 16, 2015

Press Release

New Delhi/Washington, D.C.— Ambassador Shivshankar Menon, former national security adviser to India’s prime minister, has joined the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow, President Strobe Talbott announced today. Menon will serve within the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. Menon’s professional experience includes diplomacy, national security, atomic energy, disarmament issues, and India’s relations with its neighbours and major global powers.

“We are honoured that Ambassador Menon will join Brookings as a Distinguished Fellow,” Talbott said. “He has served his nation in many ways, earning the respect and admiration of those who have had the pleasure of working with him on many of the major international issues of our era. He is an insightful thinker on issues of regional and global security. We look forward to having him as a colleague, both at Brookings in Washington, D.C. and at Brookings India in New Delhi.”

Vikram Singh Mehta, chairman of the Brookings Institution India Centre, added “We are delighted to welcome Shivshankar Menon to the Brookings India family. In addition to his distinguished diplomatic career, he is one of the most astute observers of the protean forms of power politics as well as India’s role in the changing world. His insights into India’s grand strategy and ability to shape global rules are truly perceptive. We look forward to benefiting from his vast experience and knowledge at Brookings India as we examine India’s growing role in the evolving world order.”

Menon currently serves as chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi. He has been a Richard Wilhelm Fellow at MIT and Fisher Family Fellow at Harvard University. Menon served as national security advisor to the Prime Minister of India from January 2010 to May 2014, and previously as foreign secretary of India from October 2006 to August 2009. He has served as ambassador and high commissioner of India to Israel (1995-1997), Sri Lanka (1997-2000), China (2000-2003), and Pakistan (2003-2006).He was also a member of India’s Atomic Energy Commission (2008-2014). A career diplomat, he also served in India’s missions to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Geneva and the United Nations in New York.

During his service in the Ministry of External Affairs from 1992 to 1995, Menon negotiated the first boundary related agreement between the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China, the root of the subsequent series of agreements that have maintained peace on the border despite ongoing boundary disputes. Menon also was special representative of the prime minister of India on the boundary issue from 2010 to 2014, and has dealt with the India-China boundary and India-China relations since 1974.

Menon was the second ambassador of India to Israel from 1995 to 1997, and oversaw the beginning of the now flourishing India-Israel defence and intelligence relationship.

As ambassador of India to China from 2000 to 2003, Menon restored the relationship after the lows that followed the Indian nuclear weapons tests of 1998. This culminated in Prime Minister Vajpayee’s 2003 visit to China and the establishment of the Special Representatives mechanism.

Menon was sent to Pakistan as High Commissioner from 2003 to 2006, restoring High Commissioner level relations after a gap of a year and a half. He initiated the best period in the two countries’ relationship, when the India and Pakistan came closest to settling major issues like Kashmir and Sir Creek, and popular contacts were at an unprecedented level.

“Shivshankar Menon is one of India’s most distinguished and strategic thinkers on issues of diplomacy, atomic energy, and multilateralism,” said Bruce Jones, acting vice president for Foreign Policy at Brookings. “He has served his country admirably, and now at Brookings will continue to serve as a thought leader on variety of critical regional and global issues.”

Menon studied at the Scindia School, Gwalior and at St. Stephens College, Delhi University, where he studied ancient Indian history and Chinese. In 2010, he was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”

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