New Delhi, Aug 30 (PTI) Katyayani Shankar Bajpai, a career diplomat who served as India's ambassador to the US, China, and Pakistan, passed away on Sunday, his family said in a statement. He was 92. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar condoled Bajpai's death.
'Deeply grieved at the passing away of Ambassador Shankar Bajpai, mentor and friend. Will be missed by so many of us,' he said in a tweet.
Bajpai served as India's ambassador to the US, China, and Pakistan, the statement said.
He was one of the few career diplomats to have been ambassador in India's three most important and challenging posts.
Bajpai was India's ambassador to the US when former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi made his first vital trip to Washington in 1985, the statement by Bajpai's family added.
The former diplomat was also the Indian government's political officer in Sikkim from 1970 to 1974 and was involved in the integration of the state into the Indian Union, it said.
As a young officer, he served in Pakistan during the 1965 war. In 1966, he accompanied (former) prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to Tashkent for the summit with Pakistan's (former) president Ayub Khan, it said.
After he retired from government service in 1986, Bajpai transitioned to academic life in many universities, including University of California in 1987-88, and was also a visiting professor in University of California, Berkeley, 1989-92, the statement added.
He then went on to become the first professor of Non-Western Studies, Brandeis University, in 1992 and 1993. He rounded out his academic career as a visiting fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, in 2002, it said.
He served as chairman of the National Security Advisory Board from 2008 to 2010.
Bajpai continued to be consulted informally by the Indian government, particularly on relations with the US.
He had an extensive set of contacts and friendships in the US establishment and was knowledgeable about America beyond foreign policy issues, it added.
'Bajpai was a man for many seasons. He could quote poetry classics from memory, was widely and eclectically read, was an avid film buff, but above all was known for his culinary skills and as a consummate host,' the statement said.
He remained engaged with India's foreign policy and governance, and at the time of his death was working on a biography of his father, Girja Shankar Bajpai, first secretary-general of the Ministry of External Affairs, and on his own memoirs, it said.
Bajpai is survived by his wife Meera Bajpai and two sons Dharma and Jayanti Bajpai. PTI UZM KJ