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Shyam Saran is a former Foreign Secretary of India and has served as Chairman of India’s National Security Advisory Board. In 2015 he was the Telstra Distinguished International Fellow at the Lowy Institute.
Saran is a career diplomat, having joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1970. He has served in several capitals of the world, including Beijing, Tokyo, and Geneva. He has been India’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Indonesia, and Nepal, and High Commissioner to Mauritius. In the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, he headed the Economic Division and the Multilateral Economic Division and also headed the East Asia Division which handles relations with China and Japan. As a Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office in 1991/92, he advised the Prime Minister on foreign policy, nuclear and defence–related issues.
After a career spanning 34 years in the Indian Foreign Service, he was appointed India’s Foreign Secretary in 2004 and held that position until his retirement from service in September 2006. Subsequent to his retirement, Saran was appointed Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Indo–US civil nuclear issues and later as Special Envoy and Chief Negotiator on Climate Change. During his last two assignments, Ambassador Saran served as the Prime Minister’s personal representative, or “Sherpa”, at the Gleneagles and St Petersburg G8+G5 summits, and was present at the Toyako and L’Aquila Summits as an advisor on Climate Change issues. He also attended the Pittsburg G20 summit as a member of the Indian delegation.
In 2011 Saran was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India for his contribution to Civil Service. The Padma Bhushan is the third highest national award in the country. He holds a postgraduate degree in Economics. He speaks Hindi, English, and Chinese, and is conversant in French.