Nirupama Rao
Nirupama Rao

Nirupama Rao to take over as Foreign Secretary on Saturday

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, July 31, 2009

Ms Nirupama Rao will take over as India's new Foreign Secretary tomorrow, succeeding Mr Shivshankar Menon, who has retired from service today.
Ms Rao, an officer of the 1973 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), was until recently the country's Ambassador to China.
She will be the second woman to hold the prestigious post after Ms Chokila Iyer, who served as Foreign Secretary from March, 2001 to June, 2002.
Ms Rao was born in Kerala on December 6, 1950. Her early education took place in cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Lucknow and Coonoor. She has a first class Master's degree in English Literature from the Marathwada University. She joined the IFS in 1973.
As a career diplomat, Ms Rao has served in various world capitals, including Washington and Moscow. She served in the East Asia Division of the Ministry of External Affairs from 1984 to 1992, including as Joint Secretary (East Asia).
Ms Rao was Minister in the Indian Embassy in Washington from 1993-1995, in charge of Press Affairs. She was Ambassador of India to Peru from 1995 to 1998. From 1998-1999, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Moscow. In 1999-2000 she was Distinguished International Executive in Residence at the University of Maryland, USA.
From 2001 to 2002, she served as the first woman spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Thereafter she was Additional Secretary in charge of Administration & Personnel in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Ms Rao served as the High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka from 2004-2006. In October, 2006, she took over as the Ambassador of India to China.
Ms Rao was a Fellow of the Centre for International Affairs (now the Weatherhead Centre) of Harvard University from 1992-93.
She is married to Mr Sudhakar Rao, a senior civil servant, who belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and is currently the Chief Secretary of Karnataka. They have two sons, Nikhilesh and Kartikeya.
Ms. Rao’s hobbies include music (Hindustani, Carnatic and Western), theatre and writing. She is also an accomplished singer in her own right. Her first book of poems "Rain Rising" was published in India in 2004 and also released in Sri Lanka.