Nirupama Rao

Former Indian Foreign Secretary; Former Indian Ambassador to Washington and Beijing

Ambassador Nirupama Rao is a retired Indian diplomat, Foreign Secretary and Ambassador. She joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973. During her four-decade-long diplomatic career she held several important assignments. She was India’s first woman spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, the first woman high commissioner from her country to Sri Lanka, and the first Indian woman ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. She served as India’s Foreign Secretary from 2009-2011. At the end of that term, she was appointed India’s Ambassador to the United States where she served for a term of two years from 2011-2013. Ms Rao has previously been appointment as Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellow at the India Initiative at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, was a Visiting Scholar at the India China Institute at The New School in New York, and was appointed a Public Policy Fellow at The Wilson Center in Washington D.C.. She was a Practitioner-in-Residence of the Bellagio Center in Italy, and has taught as the George Ball Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, in New York. She has previously served as the Pacific Leadership Fellow at the School of Global Politics and Strategy, University of California, San Diego, and is currently a Global Fellow of The Wilson Center. Ms Rao’s book on India’s China relationship, entitled: Tell it on the Mountain: India Tibet China, 1949-1962 is being published by Penguin/Random House, for release 2021.