Doyen of Diplomacy

Known for his formidable intellect, sharp wit and appetite to take bold decisions, he is the poster boy of Indian diplomacy.

The 60-year-old globe-trotting diplomat has a knack for being in crucial places at critical times – Moscow in the early ’80s, Tokyo in the late ’90s, Beijing from 2009 – 2013 and most recently fixing Indo-US ties post Khobragade episode. 

In 2015, he was elevated to the position of Foreign Secretary of India.



Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was born on January 9, 1955 in New Delhi. He is the son of prominent Indian strategic affairs analyst, commentator, and civil servant K Subrahmanyam.

Jaishankar has two brothers— India’s former Rural Development Secretary, S Vijay Kumar and Historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam.

He is married to Kyoko Jaishankar. He has a daughter, Medha, who is an executive with Reliance Entertainment, two sons, Dhruva, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Washington DC, and Arjun, a teenager.



He did his schooling from Air Force Central School and is a graduate of St Stephen’s College at the University of Delhi.

He then went to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) where he received his MA in Political Science and an M Phil and PhD in International Relations and specialised in nuclear diplomacy.



Jaishankar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1977 and served as third secretary and second secretary in the Indian mission to Russia (then the Soviet Union) in Moscow from 1979 to 1981.

Returning to New Delhi, he worked as an undersecretary in the America’s division of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), dealing with the US. Using his nuclear diplomacy, he helped in resolving the dispute over the supply of US nuclear fuel to power stations in India. From 1985 to 1988, he was first secretary at the Indian embassy in Washington DC.

In 1990, he was Counselor (Commercial) at the Indian mission in Budapest and held the position for three years.

After serving as Director (East Europe) in the MEA and as press secretary for the then President of India Shankar Dayal Sharma, Jaishankar was appointed as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo in 1996.

He held the position for the next four years and the period saw a downturn in Indo-Japan relations following India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests as well as a recovery after a visit to India by then Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. In 2000, he was appointed India’s ambassador to the Czech Republic.

From 2004 to 2007, Jaishankar was Joint Secretary (Americas) at the MEA. In this capacity, he was involved in negotiating the US-India civil nuclear agreement and improving defence co-operation.

Jaishankar was also involved with the conclusion of the 2005 New Defense Framework and the Open Skies Agreement, and he was associated with the launch of the India-US Energy Dialogue, the India-US Economic Dialogue, and the India-US CEO’s Forum.

From 2007 to 2009, Jaishankar served as India’s High Commissioner to Singapore. During his tenure, he helped implement the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which expanded the Indian business presence in the country, and oversaw a defence arrangement by which Singapore keeps some of its military equipment in India on a permanent basis.

Jaishankar was then sent to Beijing in 2009 as India’s ambassador to China. While there, he was involved in improving economic, trade and cultural relations between China and India, and in managing the China-Indian border dispute.He ended up being India’s longest-serving envoy to China.

After being appointed as India’s Ambassador to the US, Jaishankar was engaged in negotiating Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s departure from the US after Khobragade was arrested for visa fraud.

He was involved in planning Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the US in 2014 and is also cited as the man behind US President Barack Obama’s visit to India in 2015.


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